February blues at Korea b.o.


South Korea's film industry troubles got no relief in February as the boxoffice registered its lowest results for the month since 2003.

Admissions for February, a traditionally strong month due to the lunar new year holiday, stood at 13.2 million, down 3.6% from 2007, according to Korea's top multiplex chain CJ CGV. It follows on the heels of a January that also was the weakest in five years.

Since growing continually for a decade, topping $1.1 billion in 2006, the Korean film industry was battered for much of the past year, declining 5.5% in 2007. Local films plunged 25.7%, accounting for 50.8% of total admissions nationwide.

Korean movies rebounded to 69.1% of the boxoffice in February, up from 50.2% in January, but it still was the worst February since 2005.

The top film of the month was Showbox's surprise hit, the gory thriller "The Chaser," which pulled in 2.36 million admissions.

Korean movies accounted for five of the top six films in February and seven of the top 10. 20th Century Fox's "Jumper" was the biggest-grossing foreign entry, with 1.57 million admissions.