New moves aim to boost transparency in film sector

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New moves aim to boost transparency in film sector

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on Tuesday that it will require local cinema chains to publicize information online about the number of screens they occupy and the overall time the movies have been shown in their theaters.

The mandate is part of a follow-up measure to increase transparency in the country’s movie distribution sector.

Starting Friday, cinema chains, including CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox - which own 90 percent of the movie screens in Korea - must disclose the overall length of the runs of their movies, as well as the number of screens on which those films are shown, on the Korea Box Office Information System (KOBIS), a film-related database operated by the state-run Korean Film Council.

The regulation aims to prevent major theaters from intentionally showing movies produced or distributed by their affiliates to attract more customers.

“Disclosing screening information and [the number of screens on which these movies are shown] will have a self-monitoring role,” Jung Sang-won, director of the ministry’s Film and Video Content Industry Division said on Tuesday. “As a result, it will prevent in advance an unjustifiable preference for certain films by big theater chains.”

On Monday, the Free Trade Commission (FTC) slapped Lotte Cinema and CGV, the biggest cinema chain in Korea, with a 5.5 billion won ($4.9 million) fine after CGV and Lotte Cinema extended the run period for its movies.

The costume drama “Masquerade” (2012), for instance, was distributed by CGV’s affiliate CJ Entertainment for an additional four months despite its waning popularity in theaters.

On Tuesday, the ministry also ruled that movies distributed by CJ Entertainment and Lotte Entertainment would be restricted from receiving future funding from the ministry.

According to Kim Hee-bum, the vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, funds worth 550 million won are allocated to the movie industry each year. Previously, 50 percent of that total - 275 million won - was handed out to major companies. Now, however, that amount will be allocated to smaller movie companies.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jes@joongang.co.kr]


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