Korean b.o. hits high, low


SEOUL -- March proved both a lion and a lamb at the Korean boxoffice, as the market reached a record high even as local films hit a major low, according to data released Wednesday by CJ Entertainment.

Overall, March attendance hit 9.77 million nationwide, the highest on record and up 5,711 from last year. Korean films, however, accounted for just 21.6% of those admissions, the lowest level since December 2004, when they took in just 16.9%.

Hollywood, on the other hand, accounted for 70.5% of theatrical revenue, led by Warner Bros. Pictures' "300," which sold 2.31 million tickets in March. Another Warners film, "Music and Lyrics," was second with 930,000 admissions in March.

The top Korean performer was CJ Entertainment's "Miracle on 1st Street," with 846,000 March admissions, good enough for third place.

While down 12% from last year's 44.99 million, the first-quarter attendance of 39.56 million represents the second-best total of all time. First-quarter 2006 benefited from the performance of surprise hit "The King and the Clown," which came out of nowhere to set a then-record for total boxoffice.

First-quarter 2007 has seen a bright spot in local animation, with a record 1.26 million admissions recorded for three titles: "Robot Taekwon V," "Yobi: The Five-Tailed Fox" and "Mug Travel." The previous record was just 373,000, reached in 2003 and 2006.