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Box office ticket sales plummet

Feb 26,2020
Local box office sales hit their lowest point in 16 years this week, Korean Film Council data showed on Tuesday.

Only around 77,000 people visited cinemas around the country on Monday. That is the second lowest number recorded since May 31, 2004, when 68,000 people went to theaters.

Although local blockbuster “Beasts Clawing at Straws” has been atop the local box office since its release nearly a week ago, its total ticket sales have yet to surpass 400,000.

On Monday, only 23,000 tickets for the film were sold. Second and third place “1917” and “Honest Candidate” each sold below 20,000 and rest of the top 10, featuring films like “Little Women,” “The Closet” and “Parasite,” sold fewer than 10,000 admissions.

Industry experts say that as the coronavirus outbreak turns into a long-term emergency, its aftereffects can shake up the entire local film industry. Last year, multiplex theater chains made 1.9 trillion won ($1.56 billion) in profit, taking up 76.3 percent of the overall revenue of the industry.

Theaters also worry that the epidemic will have a lasting effect on the public’s movie-going experience. Instead of visiting theaters, audiences have started to watch films at their homes through video-on-demand and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

Coincidentally, the largest OTT platform Netflix implemented the “Top 10 Content in South Korea Today” feature along with rankings for TV shows and films on Tuesday. The three lists are updated daily for Netflix users to view what’s trending in Korea.

By Lee Jae-lim