January box office affected by virusDue to the coronavirus outbreak, local box office sales for January were their lowest since 2013, according to the Korean Film Council.
The total ticket sales last month was 16.8 million, a 7.1 percent decrease compared to January 2019.
Industry experts say that the plunge in theater sales is because of a lack of moviegoers during the Lunar New Year holidays due to the coronavirus. “The Man Standing Next,” January’s best-performing film only sold 3.8 million tickets over the month. The film was the only film to sell more than two million admissions in January.
Weekend box-office sales plummeted too. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, only 1.1 million people visited theaters. From Feb. 7 to 9, the number barely surpassed one million. Both numbers are lower than the weekends when Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, swept the country in 2015: From June 5 to 7, 1.5 million people still came to watch films.
By Lee Jae-lim