The Busan International Film Festival was the perfect time for the entertainment industry to hail a return to normalcy, but not everything was so rosy. The ongoing slump in South Korea’s commercial box office got deeper over the weekend, with cinema-going across the nation only worth $4.20 million between Friday and Sunday.
This is the lowest weekend total since April and before South Korean cinemas dropped their COVID restrictions.
How the movies performed
The weekend’s top film was “Life is beautiful,” which got the lowest first-place score of any film this year. According to data from Kobiz, it managed a haul of just $777,000. This is after climbing up from second place after being out for 4 weeks and overtaking “Confidential Assignment 2: International”.
If you think this is a win, you’re sorely mistaken. Confidential has been out for only two months and has made $5.44 million in 4 weeks. That said, the movie is in a similar situation as it slipped 60% with a $ 661,000 weekend score.
The box office slowdown resulted in a two-month gap because of Hollywood tentpole releases. Sadly, local films in Korea failed to take advantage of the Hollywood hiatus to promote their content.
Changes in the Korean movie industry
It’s possible that audiences in Korea were distracted by the free BTS concert over the weekend, but this lack of movie interest has been on a downward trend since August. This raises concerns as the shutdown of movie releases during the pandemic has led to a backlog of movies not eager to enter an unstable marketplace.
It has caused films to delay their cinema outings or choose to release via streaming. The producers of “The Match ”, a sports drama film starring Lee Byung-hun and Yoo Ah-in, are already considering this route.
Poor outing for foreign movie content
Foreign movies were not spared from the issues plaguing the Korean movie market. The U.S made crime drama “Orphan: The first kill” was the top new release with $514,000 between Friday and Sunday. George Clooney and Julia Roberts’ “Ticket Paradise” also suffered defeat by managing $282,000. Over its 5 opening days.
The Korean movie industry needs to be revitalized with fresh and relatable local content. Producers can also make content available in cinemas and on streaming platforms simultaneously. With time, movie goers will get interesting and the Korean Box Office will start hitting its profit targets again.