Romantic Movies Lose Their Box-Office Allure

      January 25, 2016 12:41

      Heartwarming romantic movies are struggling this cold winter.

      "Remember You," starring big names like Jung Woo-sung and Kim Ha-neul, attracted just 423,000 viewers between its release on Jan. 7 until Saturday and is unlikely to reach half a million.

      "Mood of the Day," released on Jan. 14, had lured 550,000 by Saturday but is unlikely to reach its break-even point of 1 million.

      Even though Korean films generally prospered last year, with three films attracting over 10 million viewers and a record number of people going to the cinema, it was rare to see romantic comedies or melodrama succeed.

      These genres used to be preferred by younger people as date movies. From the 1990s until the early 2000s, they were hugely successful in Korean cinema because younger people made up the bulk of the audience. "The Contact," "A Promise" and "My Sassy Girl" are examples of this era.

      But in the mid-2000s many younger people stopped going to the theaters. Movie theater chain CGV discovered that the proportion of moviegoers in their 20s fell from 60.6 percent in 2005 to 35.4 percent in 2015.

      There may be a number of explanations behind the dwindling younger audiences. There are fewer young people in the total population, and those who entered their 20s have grown up with the Internet and watch films at home or on the move. Meanwhile older people have been lured back to the cinemas by more adult dramas.

      But it may also be the case that audiences have simply tired formulaic rom-coms and melodramas.

      The overall number of people going to the cinema has increased. People in their 40s, who made up just 7.1 percent of moviegoers in 2005, now make up 25.1 percent. And viewers in their 50 multiplied from just 0.7 percent in 2005 to 6.4 percent in 2015.

      Some films targeting this demographic have done better. "A Werewolf Boy," "All About My Wife," and "Architecture 101" all saw record-breaking box-office figures for melodramas and rom-coms.

      "Architecture 101" was about the first love of someone in his 30s set against the background of the 1990s and made many feel nostalgic.

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