In the first half of 2020, COVID-19 has covered the film industry.
According to the Korean Film Industry Settlement in the First Half of 2020 released by the Korean Film Council, the movie industry has seen the lowest number of moviegoers and sales since 2005 due to the spread of COVID-19.
In the first half of this year, the total number of moviegoers fell by 70.3 percent (↓76.9 million) compared to last year, recording 32.41 million viewers. Sales fell 70.6 percent compared to the previous year to (↓five hundred forty-eight million USD) and recorded around two hundred twenty-eight million dollars, hitting the lowest since 2005 in both the number of audiences and sales. In the first half of 2020, the number of moviegoers in Korea saw a decrease of 64.9 percent compared with the previous year (↓36.89 million people), recording 19.99 million moviegoers, while sales fell 64.5 percent (↓two hundred fifty-eight million USD) to one hundred forty-two million dollars.
Due to a series of delayed releases since late February in the aftermath of the pandemic, films released before the outbreak of COVID-19 took the top spot in the first half of 2020. In the first half of 2020, the number one box office hit was The Man Standing Next, which was released on the New Year holiday season, with 4.75 million viewers, while Hitman: Agent Jun, which was released on the same day, came in second with 2.41 million viewers.
Ashfall, which was released last Christmas season, ranked third with 1.96 million viewers. Fourth was the family film Dolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr. Honest Candidate, ranked fifth with 1.54 million, was released ahead of the legislative elections held in April, but failed to achieve as much synergy as expected as COVID-19 swallowed up all issues. However, the movie surpassed the break-even point (1.5 million people), raising the possibility of a female-centered film.
No movies released in March and May were spotted in the Top 10 of box office hit chart. The Closet and Secret Zoo, which was released in January and February, ranked sixth (1.27 million) and seventh (1.22 million), respectively. #ALIVE, which was released in June when discount tickets for movie theaters began to be distributed, came in eight with 1.19 million viewers. #ALIVE became the first movie to surpass 1 million viewers since the Honest Candidate, which was released in February.
The filming has also stopped. A total of 13 Korean films started filming in the first half of 2020. This is a definite drop from previous years: 18 movies in 2019, 16 movies in 2018, and 29 movies in 2017.
In particular, films that require overseas filming locations have been struck hard. The production team of Bogota returned home on March 24 due to the pandemic (currently postponed to next year). The Outlaws 2, which was initially scheduled to start filming in March, delayed all schedules as Vietnam stopped the entries of Koreans with no visas, and began filming in Korea in April. Negotiation was also scheduled to film overseas in March, but production was suspended after the Jordanian government banned the entry (recently started shooting in Jordan).