Film industry in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

Bong Joon-ho's Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival 2019; the first Korean-directed film to do so in history. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Korean film history, Parasite’s Palme d'Or award is expected to bring about a big change in Korean cinema. Beginning with the first motion picture “Fight for Justice” in 1919, the Korean film industry experienced its prime in the late 1990s with Korean blockbusters loved by the audience. Since then, Korean films have evolved significantly over the past two decades as the number of Korean films as well as the influence of distributors and film companies has increased.

The cumulative number of movie audiences in South Korea in 2018 was over 200 million, the same level for six consecutive years. The Korean film market share reached over 50 percent for eight and a half years, and sales volume reached 1.18 trillion won. Korean films produced by domestic large companies and distribution companies, such as Lotte Culture Wick, CJ ENM, NEW, Showbox, are sold every year. In particular, CJ is Korea's largest producer and distributor and has played an important role in the development of the Korean film industry, including the establishment and distribution system of Korean films and the introduction of multiplex theaters.

In 2018 there were 483 national theaters and 2,937 screens. About 80% of theaters across the country were multiplex theaters. The multiplex's potential and sales share were about 98% each. The theater platform with new technology is exported worldwide by companies such as CGV and Lotte Cinema. CGV started exporting to China in 2009 and currently operates 366 theaters in six countries. Lotte Cinema has 56 theaters throughout China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia. 4DX, the experience hall where you can experience movies through touch and smell, was established in 2009 and has entered 60 countries by now.

Watching movies is a common and popular cultural activity in Korea. According to a recent survey, going to the movies was the most exclusive activity of the young generation aged 15 and 34 years old. The most beloved film in South Korea in 2018 was “Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days” with over 12 million views. Foreign films such as the Marvel series and Bohemian Rhapsody were also well-received in terms of box office views. In particular, Marvel was so loved in Korea that it led the box office eight times between 2008 and 2018.

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Film industry in South Korea

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