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Korean Films Continue to Rate Highly with Korean Audiences

2009/05/08 | 249 views |  | Permalink | Source

There are few surprises in KOFIC's latest report analyzing audience tastes from 1998 to 2008: 45.9% of Koreans prefer Korean films while 36.5% are said to prefer U.S films. While 10% of audience members surveyed had no preference where a film was made only a tiny number, 2.6% preferred European films, the same amount preferred Chinese/Hong Kong films and 1.7% was left to Japanese films.

What is a little surprising is the divide, albeit not significant, between what audiences say they watch and what they actually watch. Here, U.S films come out on top taking up 48.4% of the box office with Korean films coming in at 42.5%. Together they make up 90.8% of the box office leaving the remains for all other countries' films. Given the international predominance of U.S films, such a figure for local films at the box office still remains high only matched by markets such as Bollywood.

A summary of audience taste for genre unsurprisingly comes out with action and comedy leading the pack. The Korean film industry has always known that when the going gets tough, comedy at least, is a sure fire winner. Both Korea and U.S had success in that arena last year with the local hit "Speedy Scandal" pulling in almost 6 million admissions and animation, Kungfu Panda grossing 30 billion won (22.3 million). When it comes to foreign films it is action, sci-fi and period pieces that attracts Korean audiences to the cinema. The success of John Woo's Red Cliff series, mixing two of those genres is testament to this.

The preference for commercial style block busters may have decreased slightly if results for 2009 were taken into account. The success of independent films like bovine documentary "Old Partner" and Noh Young-seok's "Daytime Drinking" may signal a new era for Korean audiences and their preferences.

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