Korean boxoffice up in first half of 2010

Total admissions down, but higher prices boost total sales

SEOUL -- Korean boxoffice sales rose by 14.6% compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the Korean Film Council.

A market report by the council explains that the actual number of ticket buyers from January to June this year dropped by 3.9% compared to last year, but the higher ticket cost of many new 3D releases boosted actual sales from 476.8 billion won ($391 million) to 547.2 billion won this year. 

“Despite the drop in the number of ticket-buyers, sales improved due to the rise in ticket prices at multiplex chains here last year and the mega-hit of 3D Hollywood films including 'Avatar,'” said the report.

January saw the largest audiences this year, due to the hits of “Avatar” and the Korean martial arts film “The Taoist Wizard” that had opened in December, the report said. Both films were rated 12 years and younger, allowing more family audiences with children who were on vacation. Total admissions for the two films was 9.48 million, the report said.

Meanwhile, the number of overall admission dropped by 2.7 million in June compared to the previous month, due to the World Cup.

Separately admission for Korean films also dropped by 7.3% this year compared to last year. “Avatar” became the most-watched film released in Korean theaters ever, drawing 13.04 million admissions, beating Bong Joon-ho’s monster flick "The Host" at 13.02 million viewers.