[HanCinema's News] January to May Period of 2019 Best Ever at South Korean Box Office
By William Schwartz | Published on
In a report released on June 17th the Korean Film Council revealed that the January to May period of 2019 was the best ever for the South Korean box office, with record ticket sales of 86.47 million. This is a small, but noticeable uptick from 2018's 81.25 million sales, as well as 2017's 82.1 million sales, and particularly 2016's 77.6 million sales.
Nearly a fifth of these sales can be attributed to "Extreme Job", the surprise hit of January, normally a weak time period for the box office, which had 16.2 million admissions. Two Marvel superhero films also accounted for another 19.6 million sales.
But by and large the South Korean box office was sustained by smaller local releases. The quirky finance themed "Money" and the gritty action crime thriller "The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil" both brought in 3 million admissions a piece. The linguistic themed colonial era film "MAL-MO-E: The Secret Mission", the occult mystery "Svaha: The Sixth Finger", and the buddy cop comedy "Miss and Mrs. Cops" also had over 2.5 million admissions a piece.
Disney leads film distributors with an overall market share of 27.7%, while CJ ENM has 25.7%. The two market leaders are pursuing very different strategies, with Disney relying on existing brands, while CJ ENM is focusing on a wide variety of original ideas. Barring any surprise hits, the remaining films from CJ ENM's slate this year with high expectations are "Exit - Movie" and "Ashfall".
Written by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.