More than 20 million Koreans went to the movies in August alone, despite the rise of the Internet and widespread use of smartphones and tablet PCs.
The Korean Film Council on Wednesday said 20.93 million people went to theaters between Aug. 1 and 27, even more than the previous record of 18.1 million people in February, when Korean hit movies "Miracle in Cell No. 7" and "The Berlin File” both made a splash at the box office.
The new record was helped by Korean movies "Snowpiercer" and "The Terror Live," which opened in late July, plus "Hide and Seek" and "The Flu," which opened on Aug. 14. They accounted for 78.2 percent of box office.
Around one percent of all moviegoers last month saw all four of them, according to ticket sales data from film site Maxmovie. The Chosun Ilbo and Maxmovie surveyed 1,017 moviegoers on Tuesday and Wednesday about their movie tastes and assessment of the four films.
◆ Diehard Fans
Men in their 30s accounted for the largest portion or 33 percent of habitual moviegoers. Women in their 30s accounted for the biggest portion of audiences overall, but only 17 percent go to the cinema regularly.
The fact that all four of the August hits were either suspense/thriller, science fiction or disaster flicks starring actors in their 30s or 40s appears to have drawn predominantly male viewers. The data also shows that men in their 30s are most likely to have the time, money and taste in popular culture to watch all four films.
These dedicated fans are not easily swayed by hype or word of mouth, but display clear personal preferences. Some 43 percent of them said the main motivator of their decision to watch all four hit films was the lead actor or director. Only 11 percent said they were drawn by advertising and only nine percent by the recommendations of others.
"Although one percent is a small number of people to watch four Korean movies in a month, these viewers are the ones who spearhead box-office performance," said Kim Hyun-ho of Maxmovie.
◆ Top Pick?
When asked which movie they liked best, they chose "Snowpiercer" for best directing, "The Terror Live" for acting, "Hide and Seek" for plot and "The Flu" for genre.
But the preferences of the hardcore fans differed from the films' box-office performance. Some 44 percent said "The Terror Live" was the most exciting, followed by "Hide and Seek" (33 percent), "Snowpiercer" (14 percent) and "The Flu" (10 percent). That means a low-budget film by a novice director beat blockbusters by seasoned veterans.
As of Wednesday, "Snowpiercer" topped the box office with 8.88 million viewers, followed by "The Terror Live" (5.44 million), "Hide and Seek" (4.32 million) and "The Flu" (2.79 million).