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Cinemas in South Korea - statistics & facts

While 2019 saw quite a few records being broken in Korean cinemas, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the industry to come to an almost standstill in 2020. Many movie theaters were closed temporarily due to social distancing regulations and the temporary halt of various cultural activities. The decrease in both ticket sales and the supply of new films continued during the year, resulting in box office revenue dropping to 580 billion South Korean won, a roughly 70 percent decrease from 2019. In 2021, around 62 percent of all box office revenue generated within the country was derived from American movie productions, bolstered by multiple popular Marvel and Disney releases. Correspondingly, the highest-grossing movie that year was "Spider-Man: No Way Home" with around 55.7 billion won in revenue.

Leading cinema chains

As of March 2022, there were 100 cinemas operating in South Korea's capital Seoul, with a total of 617 movie screens. Nearly all cinemas in South Korea are multiplex theaters operated by one of three large cinema chains: Around half of the market is led by CGV, which is a subsidiary of CJ Corporation, followed by Lotte Cinema and Megabox. Only around 2.8 percent of ticket sales are not connected to one of these chains.

Korean film history

These days, the South Korean film industry is evolving, and its global success is growing. After years of censorship, both during the Japanese occupation and during Park Chung-hee’s authoritarian regime, a wave of “New Korean Cinema” developed right after the Asian financial crisis of 1997. One of South Korea’s first blockbusters was Shiri in 1999, a movie about a North Korean spy in Seoul, selling more than two million tickets in Seoul alone, a record number of that time. Thanks to Hallyu, the Korean culture wave, the success of South Korean movies grew beyond the country’s borders. In early 2020, Parasite by Bong Joon-ho became the first non-English movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 21 most important statistics relating to "Cinemas in South Korea".

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