Korean boxoffice has best Q3 ever

Local fare and higher prices buoy sales, but attendance down

SEOUL -- Korean theaters took in 328.7 billion won ($281 million) in sales, their highest-ever earnings in the third quarter, the Korean Film Council said in a statement.

The revenue broke the previous record of the third quarter of 2007, which was about 1 billion won less than the latest result.

The recent theater earnings spike was largely due to ticket prices, which major multiplex chains increased by 1000 won in June. Despite the increased revenue, the number of admissions for the third quarter was 46.04 million people, down from 51.29 million in 2007.

Experts at the council observed that the revenue share of Korean films also rose by 10.3%, from 40.9% last year to 51.2% during this Q3 of this year, largely due to the staying power of two summer blockbusters "Haeundae" and "Take Off." "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra" followed during the same quarter.

In a separate release by KM Culture, "Take Off," Kim Yong-hwa's latest feature about the national ski jumping team, attracted over 8.28 million viewers, becoming the eighth most-watched Korean movie of all time. So far, the Korean film "Scandal Makers," released earlier this year, has drawn 8.3 million viewers.