Film industry starts 2019 off strong

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Film industry starts 2019 off strong

The Korean Film Council released its annual report for the first half of the year on Thursday. Due to popular Marvel and Disney films, as well as the surprising success of several local films, the total ticket sales for the first half of the year set a new record.

A total of 193 million moviegoers have visited cinemas so far this year, an increase of 13.5 percent, or nearly 13 million more people, compared to last year. The overall profit in the first six months of the year was 930 billion won, a 16-percent, or estimated 130-billion-won, jump from last year’s first half.

The total number of theatergoers who have watched local films was about 57 million, an increase of 26.5 percent.

The share of moviegoers watching local films in the first half of the year reached 52 percent, a 5.4-percent increase from last year. The percentage is especially meaningful as it marks the first time in six years that local films’ share at the box office went over 50 percent.

Two local films - “Extreme Job” and “Parasite” - contributed to the percentage by attracting 16 million and 9.6 million moviegoers, respectively. “Extreme Job” also held the honor of ranking No. 1 at the box office for the first half of 2019. Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” came in second by selling a little over 13 million tickets. The superhero blockbuster reached the 10-million-ticket-sales mark in just 11 days, a new record.

Disappointingly, however, there were no other local films that did relatively well, deepening the gap between highly popular films and less successful performers. Some films - such as “Innocent Witness,” “Inside Me” and “Miss & Mrs. Cops” - created quite a buzz, offering fresh topics to the local film industry that has been brimming with crime-action films.

Independent film “A Resistance” also reached a milestone, having sold 1.1 million tickets - and landed at the top spot for independent films. The record is particularly significant as a total of 1.1 million tickets for independent movies were sold in the first half of 2018.

By Lee Jae-lim

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