Commercial Success of Indie Films Points to More Growth Potential

      December 31, 2014 11:29

      Korean films have fared well this year in terms of cinema attendance.

      "The Attorney," loosely based on former President Roh Moo-hyun, started the year by attracting 11.3 million viewers, and period action film "Roaring Currents" dominated the summer with 17.6 million spectators. And the recently released melodrama "Ode to My Father" is sweeping the box office, attracting more than 4 million viewers in just 12 days from its release.

      However, there were several star-studded films -- No Tears for the Dead," starring Jang Dong-gun, "Haemoo," produced by Bong Joon-ho, and "My Dictator," starring Sol Kyung-gu and Park Hae-il -- that failed to meet expectations.

      The market share for domestic films remains at 49.9 percent as of Monday, but is expected to exceed 50 percent by the end of the year as a couple of Korean films released around Christmas including "Ode to My Father" continue to attract viewers.

      However, this figure is still well behind 2012 and 2013, when the market share was around 60 percent. Consolation comes from the fact that the number of cinemagoers surpassed more than100 million for three years in a row.

      Foreign films were very successful this year in Korea. Two films -- "Frozen" and "Interstellar" attracted over 10 million spectators, while "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" also garnered a favorable reception.

      Although many speculate that the film market in Korea has reached a saturation point, the number of cinemagoers increased and ticket sales went up by a small margin.

      Last year's cinema attendance was 213.35 million, while this year's was 212.38 million as of Sunday. The industry needs to find new markets such as China for more growth and expansion.

      Most noticeably, cinemagoers flocked to independent films. "Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Her" were surprisingly successful, attracting 770,000 and 350,000 viewers, respectively. Musical comedy "Begin Again" drew 3.43 million spectators.

      Korean Documentary "My Love, Don't Cross That River" drew more than 3 million viewers, breaking the record for an Indie film set by "Old Partner" in 2009, which drew 29.3 million viewers.

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