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FEATURE KOREA


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Black Swan impressed with an unexpected $11.3m haul in Korea


Dancing to a new tune A


fter a record-breaking year in 2010, South Korea’s box offi ce has, like many territories, taken a dip in the fi rst quar- ter of 2011. But the box office also


showed that previously accepted audience norms were not being followed. Most noticeably, the usual ambivalence of


Korean audiences towards Oscar winners has not been in evidence this year as 20th Century Fox’s Black Swan and hwa & dam ent’s The King’s Speech raked in $11.3m and $4.1m respectively. South Korea saw a record-breaking $1.02bn


total box-offi ce gross last year, up 6.5% despite a drop in total admissions by 9.6% to 146.8 mil- lion. Thanks to tentpole releases such as the 3D Avatar, exhibitors were able to hike the average ticket price from $6.22 (WON6,970) in 2009 up to $6.99 (WON7,834) in 2010. In 2011, the first quarter’s total box office


clocked up $250.8m (WON267.3bn), down 12.5% year-on-year. Total admissions went down by 3.9 million to 34.3 million admissions due to a lack of blockbuster titles and the lacklustre per- formance of Hollywood fi lms compared to last year’s first quarter which benefitted not just from Avatar, but also Alice In Wonderland. This quarter, local fi lms took 53.4% of box


offi ce gross market share, up from 40.5% last year. US fi lms took 41.8%, down from 53.8% last year. Local fi lms such as the period mystery Detec- tive K: Secret Of Virtuous Widow and the sports


drama G-Love went against the industry consen- sus of recent years that Lunar New Year’s holi- days did not make for greatly increased business. This year, the three-day public holiday fell between February 2-4, leading straight into a weekend. Detective K eventually took in $33.5m and topped the charts for the first quarter. G-Love took $12.8m (see chart, below). Distributor N.E.W. has also fl ipped expecta-


tions with smaller openings, word-of-mouth and longer runs for two local fi lms. The super- natural comedy Hello Ghost and the heart- warming drama Late Blossom clocked up $11.4m and $8.9m respectively. International films were led by Gulliver’s


Travels, which screened in both 3D and 2D. The fi lm took $15.4m at the box offi ce, placing it sec- ond in gross rankings (despite the fact its 1.8 million admissions would only put it at number fi ve in admissions rankings). Gulliver’s Travels


KOREA TOP 5, JANUARY 1-MARCH 31, 2011 TITLE/ORIGIN


1 Detective K: Secret Of Virtuous Widow (Kor) 2 Gulliver’s Travels (US) 3 The Last Godfather (Kor) 4 G-Love (Kor)


5 Children… (Kor) Source: KOFIC


■ 42 Screen International at the Cannes Film Festival May 14, 2011 DISTRIBUTOR


Showbox/Mediaplex 20th Century Fox Korea CJ Entertainment CJ Entertainment


Lotte Entertainment ADMISSIONS


4.8m 1.8m 2m


1.9m 1.9m


The usual ambivalence of Korean audiences towards Oscar winners is not in evidence this year


Are Korean audiences changing their viewing and cinema-going habits? International sellers take note. By Jean Noh


was followed in the international rankings by Black Swan and Sony Pictures Releasing/ WDSMPI’s Tangled. European films such as the Belgian animation Sam- my’s Adventure dis- t r ibut ed by CJ Entertainment gar- nered a 3.3% market


share, up 1% year-on-year. Japanese films, mostly ani-


mations such as Pokemon: Dia- mond Pearl distributed by CJ CGV and Hutch The Honey- bee distributed by A1 Enter- tainment, took 1.3%, up from 1.1% last year. No Chi- nese fi lms were released during the first three months of 2011. 


s


TOTAL GROSS (KOREAN WON)


WON35.8bn WON16.4bn WON14.6bn WON13.8bn WON13.6bn


TOTAL GROSS ($)


$33.5m $15.4m $13.6m $12.8m $12.7m


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