Industries & Festivals — January 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

South Korean films surge in 2011

South Korean films grabbed more than half of the South Korean box office last year, the first time in six years, according to Film Business Asia.

According to preliminary data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, South Korean films enjoyed a market share of 51.9% in 2011, up from 46.5% the previous year.

The numbers were attained despite the failure of a handful of big budget South Korean films.

The Ministry said that the number of local films able to achieve more than 4 million ticket sales, grew from just two in 2010 to five in 2011.

South Korean films regularly enjoyed more than half of their home box office market until 2006, the year in which the country halved its annual screen quota (the number of day in which cinemas must reserve for local films) from 146 to 73 per year.

However a causal link between the 2007-2010 box office drop by South Korean films and the removal of the quota has been hard to prove.

Other factors, including a failure to adapt to market conditions, the challenge from 3-D and changing film funding conditions, may all have been at play. Exports of South Korean films also dropped after 2006.

Last year’s resurgence also saw exports improve. The ministry indicated that overseas rights sales for South Korean films also increased 14% in 2011. Korean Film Council (KOFIC) is expected to provide detailed figures for 2011 after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Korean New Year, commonly known as Seollal, is the first day of the lunar calendar. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays. In 2012, Seollal is celebrated on Jan. 23, and in 2013 it will be celebrated on Feb. 10.

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