Korean cinema down and Chinese up?

Friday, 14 january 2011

Last year in Korea audience attendances was 148 million
which a 5% decrease from the previous year, 2009.
I heard that it is the lowest figure in 5 years.


When I went to Puchon last summer,
and you knonw, Pucheon is not really a metropolitan,
but ordinary middle-sized country town,
there, I went to a cinema in a modest and yellow painted building.
There I saw the premiere of “The Man From Nowhere,”
which starred Won Bin and Lee Byung Hun’s “I Saw the Devil,”
which was shown despite a government ban due to its depiction of cruelty.


All the seats in the cinema was almost fully filled for both films,
so I got the impression that more people attended
the cinema there than in Japan.  
Despite this impression,
are numbers really lower than in the past?


That is to say.


The two films I watched took first and second place
in the cinema attendance charts for that period.  
So this situation may the so-called “Single Victor”
(only one can come top), the same as it is in Japan.


It is like this…..

It is the largest attendance ever!

However, it is only TOHO that has the hit,
whilst another film company goes bankrupt.


I expect Korean entertainment has a strong
following in its homeland, due to Korean idol groups
such as Girls Generation and Kara.
They even have a lot of Japanese who make
the trip from Japan to Seoul to go to their concert tours.


Despite such trend, domestic product is capped at
47% in the so-called Korean Film market share.
(Japan has a similar scheme for the foreign films.)

Although Korea is continuing to pitch high quality films,
the other half is still imports. 
That was not I expected from my experience, though.


Indeed, 7 of the top 10 films in Korea are domestic productions.
So it seems that people prefer local product.
I think the same is true of Japan.


By the way, “Avatar” took the crown for the largest number
of admissions in Korea at 824 mil admission.
Second place was Won Bin’s “Ajosh” at 625 mil.


When I see an amazing number of attendances like this –
1,300 mil for “Haeundae” the year before last –
it really is record breaking.
“Tsunami” (also a Japanese translation of Haeundae)
which are not so rare in Japan, it was promoted with
a full-impact advertising campaign that said
 ”it’s a Mega-Tsunami, isn’t it?”.
However it did not really get in to full swing.


Well, we can see numbers like this everywhere,
but if I apply these against top Japanese cinema
attendances then it equates like this. 695 mil. attended
“Rookies – Graduation,” so the same scale as
“The Man From Nowhere” whilst the “Harry Potter” series
was attended by an average of 8 mil,
so on par with “Avatar” in Korea.


I expect the feeling about a hit of that sort of scale is
that “almost everyone has heard of the film”.


By the way, the largest attendance figure ever in Japan
was for “Spirited Away,” which was seen by 2,300 mil people.
One in six Japanese people saw the film!
(including babies, I have to warn you!)


On the other hand, 2010 was a very important year
for Chinese cinema as it increased it’s pulling power
and appreciation throughout the world.


I thought I was going to write about this,
but I am now tired of typing on my i-Pad.
(I called it “Mantis-style typing” –
a form of typing with one finger.)


Soon I have to go to a meeting with a
licensed tax accountant to go over my accounts settlement…..
I have to sign off now….
Have a nice week-end!!
By the way, Won-Bin in THE MAN FROM NOWHERE was really cool.
I heard from the producer, he did not care to use this cut,
but all his female employee insisted to insert this wonderful six-pack!
thank you, girls!!
©2010 CJ Entertainment Inc. & United Pictures, All Rights Reserved