South Korean Movies Struggle to Turn a Profit in 2023

korea box office 2023
korea box office 2023
Credit: Plus M Entertainment, CJ ENM

None of the South Korean movies released in 2023 have been profitable.

The only film that attracted over 1 million moviegoers this year was The Point Men. However, even this film failed to surpass the break-even point, as it needed more than 3.5 million viewers to do so. On the other hand, Phantom, which premiered on the same day, only garnered 660,000 moviegoers and failed to attract over 3.3 million viewers to break even.

korea box office 2023
Credit: Barunson E&A, Plus M Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment

Unfortunately, the poor streak for South Korean movies continues. As of April 24th, Rebound and Killing Romance have attracted 600,000 and 140,000 viewers, respectively. It is estimated that both movies need to attract over 1.6 million moviegoers to break even. Meanwhile, Dream initially had lower ticket sales than The Super Mario Bros, but it became the number-one movie overall on its 50th day of release.

The profits for South Korean movies are at an all-time low. According to the Korean Film Council’s report on the 24th, revenue from domestic films only accounted for 27.3 percent of the total market, which is about half of last year’s record of 54.4 percent.

Moviegoers have also shown a lukewarm response to domestic movies, mostly due to the challenge of meeting their high expectations caused by the rising cost of movie tickets.

Many South Korean film distributors have not yet decided on the release dates for their blockbuster films. Director Ryoo Seung Wan’s Smuggling is currently the only film scheduled to premiere in May, the peak season when many people flock to theaters. An anonymous industry insider revealed that they are still searching for the right release date, as it is difficult to predict the number of viewers who will watch the film.

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