Korean films top local b.o. in 2009

Domestic film success comes at Hollywood's expense

HONG KONG -- A massive turnaround in the performance of local films this year has returned Korean films to the top of the boxoffice and again grown the overall Korean market.
According to the latest monthly data from the Korean Film Council, the overall Korean cinema market grew by 3.5% in terms of admissions, from 133 million in Jan-Nov 2008 to 137.9 million in the first 11 months of this year.

With rising ticket prices pushing up receipts, boxoffice returns climbed 9% to hit 951 billion won ($825 million), compared with $751 million in the comparable period last year.
Korean films sold 70.6 million tickets in the first 11 months of the year. That is a 27% increase on the 55.4 million recorded in the same period last year. In terms of boxoffice receipts the growth is higher still, 35%, for a total of $425 million.
Surging Korean ticket sales put a crimp on the performance of foreign films from the U.S., Europe and China, although Japanese imports managed to increase their box-office total from $9.71 million to $13.5 million.
For U.S. films, the drop from 66 million admissions last year to 56.3 million in the first 11 months of this year was a slide of some 15% at the turnstile. But the strengthening Korean currency limited the earnings loss for American companies to 13% in dollar terms.