The Korean box office reached a new record in 2009 with ticket sales hitting an all-time high, according to data by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).
The KOFIC's annual report on the local film industry released Monday, reported that Korean moviegoers paid out approximately KRW 1.928 trillion for theater tickets last year. The sales total is about a 11.6 percent jump from the previous year and surpasses the previous record of KRW 991.8 billion won set in 2007.
Admissions clocked in at over 156.79 million, up four percent year-on-year and ranking second behind the record set in 2007. The surge in sales despite the declined number of moviegoers was attributed to increases in ticket prices, raised by most theaters by KRW 500 to 1,000 starting June last year.
Korean films turned around their presence on the domestic box office last year, increasing their market share from 42.1 percent in 2008 to 48.8 percent in 2009 while U.S. films saw their market share drop from 48.8 percent to 43.9 percent.
The KOFIC cited the strong performance of Korean films to blockbusters "Haeundae" and "Take Off" which together increased admissions by about 20 percent and ticket sales by nearly 30 percent year-on-year.
Yoon Je-kyu's disaster pic "Haeundae" hauled in over KRW 81 billion with about 11.3 million viewers, becoming the first film in three years to breach the 10 million mark in admissions. Sports drama "Take Off" also raked in a handsome sum, grossing KRW 60 billion with nearly 8.4 million admissions.
KOFIC predicted that in 2010, the Korean film industry will take heated interest in the production of digital 3D films due to the impact of Hollywood pic "Avatar". The council also expected a wider range of movies to come to birth with moviegoers taste broadening as proved with the success of indie film "Old Partner" last year.
The film had started by showing on only seven screens but ended up attracting close to three million viewers, the highest figure for a documentary. The story, about an old farmer couple and their lifelong friendship with a 40-year-old ox, has been shown at numerous film festivals throughout the world and is preparing for release overseas.
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