Korean film industry breaks $2.47 billion in sales

Korean film industry breaks $2.47 billion in sales
A promotional still from "The Admiral".

The Korean film industry enjoyed the most vibrant year in its history, raking in some 2 trillion won (S$2.47 billion) in box office sales for the first time.

The sales increased by 7.6 percent from the previous year thanks to box office revenues and overseas and digital sales, according to the state-run Korean Film Council's yearly report.

The record-breaking figure was mainly buoyed by the robust box office sales, which accounted for about 82 percent of the total sales - and rapidly growing digital online market. The growth in the domestic box office has been largely due to the rise in ticket prices.

"The surge in box office sales is also a result of the increased average ticket price," said Park Joo-young, a researcher at the Korean Film Council.

"Due to the price discrimination strategy implemented by many theater chains, the average price of tickets increased to 7,738 won as a whole."

Last year, Koreans proved themselves to be among the world's most avid moviegoers, as the number of cinema tickets sold totaled 200 million for both domestic and foreign movies for the second consecutive year. This means Koreans each watched an average of 4.19 films.

However, the box office sales were driven by foreign movies, while audiences for domestic movies shrank. The movie attendance for Korean films dropped by 15.4 percent from the previous year, garnering 107.70 million viewers. The number of tickets sold for foreign films increased 24.8 percent, generating an all-time high of 107.36 million ticket sales.

A number of hit films led the continuing success on the silver screen. The periodic action flick "Roaring Currents" drew 17.6 million viewers becoming the most-watched film of all time, while three other films joined the coveted 10 million viewers' club, including drama flick "The Attorney," Disney's "Frozen" - which became the first animated film to break the 10 million mark - and sci-fi flick "Interstellar."

The digital online market - which includes mobile, Web-based platforms and TV channels via IPTV and digital cable networks - grew 11 percent from a year earlier to 297.1 billion won, thanks to the increasing number of IPTV subscribers.

The box office hit "Frozen" was at the center of the thriving market as the film's IPTV version brought in 1 million viewers, setting a record in the segment.

Despite a largely expanding film industry, the rate of return on investments in domestic films sharply declined to 0.3 percent from 14.1 percent in the previous year.

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