HONG KONG– Moviegoing in South Korea reached an all-time high in the first six months of the year, with just shy of 100 million tickets sold and a gross box office of $639 million. Local films boomed.
Data published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that box office climbed by 13% in local currency terms from KRW642 billion to KRW724 billion in the Jan-June period. In dollar terms that represents a 14% increase from US$634 million to US$724 million.
Ticket sales outpaced the cash advance – climbing 18% from 83.3 million in the first half of 2012 to 98.5 million at the 2013 halfway mark. The decline in mean ticket prices likely reflects the growing share of local films and a proportionately smaller volume of tickets sold at premium prices for 3-D movies.
Korean films claimed a 56% market share in the half, with local titles improving by 25% from 44.5 million tickets in the first period of last year to 55.6 million thus far in 2013.
Local films have performed strongly in nearly every month this year. They claimed four of the top five places and six of the top ten. NEW’s tear-jerking comedy drama “Miracle In Cell No. 7” (pictured) scored a massive 12.8 million ticket sales (in a population of 49 million), denting the impact of “Iron Man 3” with 9.0 million. CJ Entertainment’s “Berlin File” amassed 7.16 million tickets, Showbox/Mediaplex’s “Secretly Greatly” managed 6.64 million and NEW’s “New World” was discovered by 4.68 million.
Ranking seventh with 3.19 million tickets sold as of 30 June, the still on release “World War Z” was the second placed Hollywood title and a blockbuster hit for local integrated major Lotte Entertainment. Lotte has Korean rights to the picture by virtue of its status as a major backer of the film’s financier Hemisphere Media Capital.