Korean films improve share in January

Year on year sales up 28% for first month of 2010

SEOUL -- The Korean films took 39% market share in January, pressured by mega hit “Avatar,” which topped the local boxoffice for seven weeks in a row and sold over 11.1 million tickets, according to a monthly market report by the Korean Film Council.

Despite the success of the 3D blockbuster, market share for Korean films rose by 10.1% in the last month, from 28.9% in December to 39% January.

“Avatar” broke the local boxoffice record as the most-watched foreign film of all time, and made 101 billion won ($86.2 million) from ticket sales, beating the sales of the director Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host,” the most-watched Korean film ever that had attracted 13.01 million admissions and made an estimated 78.5 billion won.

Owing to the triumph of “Avatar,” the market share of 20th Century Fox was the highest among all distributors at 41% last month, rising from 7.9% for all of 2009.

Aside from “Avatar,” the company also released “500 Days of Summer” and a children’s animation “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

Overall, cinemas began the year smoothly, with January sales rising by 22.3% year-on-year.

“Given that there will be a Lunar New Year holiday and Valentine’s Day in February, theater admissions will continue to grow,” the report predicted.