Ticket sales slow to a trickle as virus keeps moviegoers home

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Ticket sales slow to a trickle as virus keeps moviegoers home

Theaters nationwide will again be empty due to the virus. With daily box office sales falling below 40,000, rankings have become meaningless while upcoming films continue to push back their release dates until the epidemic is over.

Korean Film Council data showed the No. 1 ranked film, “The Invisible Man,” had sold just 6,953 tickets on Thursday. The No. 2 film, “1917,” had sold 6,078 tickets.

Although “The Invisible Man” has retained the top spot for a month now, accumulated ticket sales result in 452,000 ticket sales.

Weekend box office sales are plummeting each week. From the weekend of Feb. 22, ticket sales recorded just 505,000 ticket sales. The number of moviegoers has spiraled downwards since then, with just 190,000 tickets sold at box offices last weekend.

“It looks like this long-lasting epidemic will have a tremendous impact on the local film industry, which is largely dependent on cinemas,” said film critic Kim Hyung-seok. “[The impact] will be even more detrimental for us, because foreign film markets still have other means — soft industries such as OTT [over the top] platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime — to reap profit. For local moviegoers, we still have this wrongful notion that films viewed outside of movie theaters should be free, which is why our industry is to suffer more heavily.”

By Lee Jae-lim

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