×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dynamics Change as South Korean Box Office Ends Flat in 2018

Box office revenue and ticket sales in South Korean cinemas took diverging paths in 2018, while the distribution landscape was shaken up, with a new No. 1 player for the first time in more than a decade.

Revenues increased by 3% from $1.56 billion (KRW 1.76 billion) in 2017 to $1.61 billion (KRW 1.81 billion) in 2018, according to data from the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS service. But admissions dropped from 220 million to 216 million, which still gives South Korea (population 51 million) one of the highest per-capita attendance rates in the world.

Hollywood prospered in the East Asian nation last year, with seven films earning a place in the top 10, up from just three in 2017. The market share for locally produced films edged down fractionally from 52% in 2017 to 51% in 2018.

Several large-budget Korean films were produced and released, especially for the Chuseok holidays, but many of them are believed to have lost money. Mid-budget films, such as “On Your Wedding Day,” “Intimate Strangers” and “Default,” performed relatively better. That trend is expected to be reflected in companies’ production and distribution strategies in 2019.

The number of new titles released jumped substantially, from 495 to 660, but only two films, “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” (released in December 2017) and “Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days,” achieved 10 million admissions, the traditional mark of a mega-hit in Korea. “The Last 49 Days” earned $91 million from 12.3 million tickets, beating “Avengers: Infinity War,” which scored $88.6 million from 11.2 million admissions.

With the success of its “Along With the Gods” series and “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” the Paramount title it distributed in Korea, Lotte Cultureworks became the top distributor of the year, beating traditional No. 1 CJ Entertainment for the first time in 15 years. Lotte distributed 14 local and foreign films in the first 11 months of 2018 and held a share of 18%.

Disney Korea, in second place, took 15.2%, with 10 releases. CJ dropped to third place with 12.5% from 15 titles, and Next Entertainment World had 9.8% with 19 titles. Showbox, which was the No. 2 distributor in 2017, tumbled to the ninth spot with 5.2% from just six titles.

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content