The South Korean film “Parasite” took home multiple Academy Awards on Sunday, including the first-ever “Best Picture” award received by a foreign film. The wins highlight a rapidly growing film industry in South Korea that is gaining more worldwide recognition.
Box office revenue for films made in South Korea has skyrocketed over the last decade and a half. In 2004, the country produced a total domestic film revenue of 239 billion South Korean won – or roughly $203 million in U.S. dollars. For 2019, the total revenue of Korean films was 971 billion South Korean won – or roughly $823 million U.S. dollars. While that’s still short of the $11.3 billion U.S. film industry, it's certainly a significant portion of the global $42.5 billion film industry.
Over half of the total box office revenue in Korea was collected by domestic films, with 1.91 trillion South Korean won - or $1.62 billion U.S. dollars - coming from both domestic and foreign films in South Korea for 2019.
Government and culture initiatives in South Korea have played a large role in amplifying cinema in the country, with more films releasing globally than ever before. The country now has one of the five largest film industries in the world, trailing the U.S. and China and on-par with Japan and the U.K.