×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Distribution revolution: shifting ranks

Berlin Daily Spotlight: Korean Cinema

One of the big dramas playing out in the Korean film business today is the changing landscape among local distributors.

It was ignited by CJ E&M, which was re-established as a massive enterprise in the local entertainment business in April, 2011. The company merged film, music, game and media companies under one roof in order to maximize the synergies of vertical integration.

It distributed more than 50 foreign and local films under three labels last year: CJ Entertainment, newly consolidated CJ E&M, and its specialty division Filament Pictures. The three labels dominated the industry by grabbing a total market share of 37.4% — up 7.1% from the days of CJ Entertainment in 2010.

Local distributors’ market share was much bigger than that of the U.S. direct distributors last year. In 2010, three direct distribs — Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Buena (Sony Pictures Releasing Buena Vista Korea) — were included in the top five distributors list and got a market share of more than 30%.

However in 2011, four out of the top five distributors were local. Only Sony Buena was included in the top five ranking with a relatively small 8.5% take at No. 4. Following CJ E&M, Lotte Entertainment ranked No. 2; Next Entertainment World was No. 3 — with a 15.4% and 9% market share, respectively. Showbox, which was the second-biggest local distributor until 2009, ranked No. 5 with a 7.9% take.

Lotte Entertainment has made the most conspicuous advance among local distribs. It held the second rank with a 15.4% market share for the first time since its launch in 2004; this was up by 3.7% up compared to the previous year.

Lotte distributed 30 films, of which 21 were local, including last year’s No. 1 at the B.O., “Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon.”

After Showbox Mediaplex sold off its multiplex chain Megabox, Lotte became the only company that can compete with CJ E&M by vertically integrating its film business division with its affiliate exhibition business, Lotte Cinemas. The company also officially launched its international department in 2011 and plans to expand globally.

This ambition was underlined in December, when group chairman Shin Dong-bin exchanged a memorandum of understanding with Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“Lotte aims to grow as one of the leading entertainment companies in the world stage,” according to Son Kwang-ik, the president of Lotte Entertainment.

These changes were partly brought about by the inactivity of big telecommunication conglomerates Korea Telecom and SK Telecom, which made a lot of noise six years ago with declarations that they were entering the content business by setting up their affiliates distribution companies, SidusFNH and IHQ, respectively.

However, SidusFNH failed at the box office and IHQ shut down its distribution business last year.

SK Telecom did manage to co-distribute the war movie “My Way” through its platform company SK Planet along with CJ E&M, but it failed again at the box office.

The third leading local distributor, NEW, released 20 films, half of which were local. It turned out surprising hits such as “Blind” and “Poongsan.”

Showbox experienced a downturn at the box office, but it has released critically acclaimed films, including “The Front Line.”

The four major investors-cum-distributors are now taking in a market share of almost 98%. It’s anticipated that they’ll also lead the market in 2012.

Berlin Daily Spotlight: Korean Cinema
Comeback of the local business | Distribution revolution: shifting ranks | From ‘Achitect’ to zombie

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rugrats. Nickeoldeon Animation Studios

    Film News Roundup: 'Rugrats' Writer David N. Weiss Honored by Animation Writers

    In today’s film news roundup, David N. Weiss is honored, Rin Tin Tin is getting a modern movie and “The Shasta Triangle” finds a home. WEISS HONORED David N. Weiss will receive the animation writing award from the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America West. The award will be presented by Weiss’ [...]

  • Marrakech Chief on Selecting Arthouse Films

    Marrakech Chief on Selecting Arthouse Films With a Big Stress on the Word 'Art'

    The 18th edition of the Marrakech Film Festival (Nov. 29-Dec. 7) – one of the leading cultural events in the Africa and Middle East region – will screen 98 films from 34 countries. The fest is also reinforcing its industry presence this year through the second edition of the Atlas Workshops, sponsored by Netflix, which [...]

  • Emma Stone Brad Pitt Damien Chazelle

    Paramount Lands Damien Chazelle's 'Babylon,' Dates It for Christmas 2021

    Paramount Pictures has landed the worldwide rights to Damien Chazelle’s next feature film “Babylon,” sources tell Variety. Insiders add the studio has dated the film for a Dec. 25, 2021 limited release, with plans to go wide on Jan. 7. The release date puts in prime position for another awards season run for Chazelle, who [...]

  • Chris Pratt

    Chris Pratt's Sci-Fi Film 'The Tomorrow War' Gets Release Date

    Chris Pratt’s upcoming sci-fi actioner, which was recently retitled “The Tomorrow War,” has set a Christmas Day 2020 release date. The Paramount film was formerly titled “Ghost Draft.” It follows a man (played by Pratt) who is drafted to fight a future war in which the fate of humanity may rely on his ability to [...]

  • Kim Dong-Ho of GIFF Chairman of

    Inaugural Gangneung Film Festival Pays Tribute to Pierre Rissient

    The opening ceremony of the first edition of the Gangneung International Film Festival was dominated by a tribute to the French film scout and festival selector Pierre Rissient, who died in May 2018. The new festival, 240 km from Seoul, counts former Busan festival co-founder Kim Dong-ho as its chairman and former Bucheon festival head [...]

  • 'Waves': Sterling K. Brown and Trey

    'Waves' Cast Reflects on the Making of the Tragic Family Drama

    “Waves,” a partially autobiographical film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, is a visually arresting look at the fraying of an upper-middle class black family in South Florida in the aftermath of a violent tragedy. It examines themes of grief, domestic violence, substance abuse and modern-day pressures on kids to succeed. “Propelled by color, [...]

  • Gaston Pavlovich

    Gaston Pavlovich Talks About Producing 'The Irishman'

    Through his production company Fabrica De Cine, Gastón Pavlovich is one of the producers on Martin Scorsese’s two most recent movies: 2016’s “Silence” and 2019’s “The Irishman.” The 51-year-old native of Mexico first gained notice as an executive producer on the Tom Hanks comedy-drama “A Hologram for the King.” Pavlovich also began working with Scorsese [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content