June 29, 2022

The South Korean filmmaking industry for a second straight year in 2021 recorded loss mostly over years-long COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the data by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the aggregated revenues of the local film market, which includes domestic sales of movie tickets, and online releases and exports, reached 1.02 trillion won (US$855 million) last year. The amount is comparatively a slight on-year decrease from the previous year’s 1.05 trillion won, however it marks a 60-percent plunge from 2.5 trillion won tallied in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Last year, the total sales of movie tickets rose 14.5 percent on-year to 384.5 billion won, with with the number of admissions edging up 1.7 percent on-year to 60.5 million. However, the 2021 ticket sales accounted for 30.5 percent of those of 2019.

In the reporting period, the portion of South Korean-made movies hit 30.1 percent, sinking below the 50 percent level for the first time in 11 years.

According to KOFIC, several big-budget homegrown movies have delayed their release schedules due to the fears of the pandemic, while Hollywood blockbusters, such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Eternals,” hit Korean screens to fill the vacancy.

The average Korean person in 2021 went to theaters 1.17 times, up slightly from the previous year’s 1.15, although down sharply from 4.37 times tallied two years ago.

The KOFIC report also showed exports of Korean films falling 41.8 percent on-year to $48.6 million and sales of online releases contracted 15 percent on-year to 383.8 billion won last year.