According to Yonhap News, revenue of Korean cinemas in 2021 decreased by 60% compared to 2019, before the pandemic.
The Korean film industry has been affected for two consecutive years because of the ongoing pandemic. According to the data provided by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) quoted by Yonhap News, the revenue of the local film market, including domestic box office sales, online distribution and export, reached 1.2 trillion won ($855 million) by 2021.
This is a slight decrease compared to the same period in 2020 (1.5 trillion won) but marks a significant decrease of 60% compared to the 2.5 trillion won recorded in 2019. Total box office sales of 2021 increased by 14.5% over the same period in 2020 and reached 384.5 billion won. The number of viewers increased by 1.7% over the same period in 2020, hitting 60.5 million admissions.
However, these numbers cannot compare to 2019, before the outbreak of the infectious virus. Worth mentioning, the proportion of Korean-produced films only accounted for 30.1% in 2021. For the first time in 11 years, the proportion of domestic films dropped below 50%. KOFIC said many big-budget Korean movies have delayed their release schedules due to pandemic concerns, while Hollywood blockbusters, including Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: No Way Home and Eternals, hit Korean theaters to fill the void.
On average, a Korean went to theaters 1.17 times in 2021, up slightly from 1.15 in 2020 but down sharply from 4.37 times in 2019. The report by KOFIC also shows that Korean film exports in 2021 decreased by 41.8% year-on-year. Online sales also dropped 15% to 383.8 billion won.