Korea box office tumbles

First fall in ten years

SEOUL — South Korea’s box office turned in a mixed performance in 2007, falling 5.5% off 2006’s record level.

It’s the territory’s first box office drop in a decade, according to distributor CJ-CGV.

Nonetheless, the estimated total admissions of 157,525,412 are the second highest on record, and amount to more than $1 billion.

Local cinema took a strong hit compared to the previous year, with a 25.7% drop in admissions to 80,051,529. Market share for Korean films was 50.8%, the lowest level since 2002 and a sharp decline from last year’s 64.7%.

Admissions for imported titles, meanwhile, were up 31.4% to a record 77,473,883.

The highest grossing film of the year was monster movie “D-War,” released in the U.S. as “Dragon Wars.” Pic, produced and financed in Korea but shot mostly in English in Los Angeles, took an estimated $57.7 million. “Transformers,” ranked third overall, set a new box office record for imported pics with $49.6 million.

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Ten local films and 11 imports managed to break the 2 million admissions mark, compared to 16 and nine respectively in the previous year.

A report to be published by the Korean Film Council later in the month will provide more detailed figures on exhibitor market share and other statistics.

Top Ten Films in South Korea, 2007

1. “D-War” (Showbox), $57.7 million
2. “May 18” (CJ Ent), $49.9 million
3. “Transformers” (CJ Ent), $49.6 million
4. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Sony-BVI),$34.2 million
5. “Spider-Man 3” (Sony-BVI), $33.8 million
6. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (Warner Bros), $24.5 million
7. “Die Hard 4.0” (20th Fox), $23.1 million
8. “Voice of a Murderer” (CJ Ent), $22.2 million
9. “Le Grand Chef” (CJ Ent), $20.6 million
10. “300” (Warner Bros), $20.4 million