Korean admissions increased by 3.5% to 158.8 million in 2007, according toa year-end report by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), contradicting earlier figures released by exhibitor CJ CGV which estimated a 5.5% dip in admissions.

However, KOFIC agreed with CJ CGV that the market share of local films was down to 50.8% nationwide in 2007, compared to 63.8% the previous year.

As previously projected in the first half of 2007, exports last year dropped to $12.3m - half of the $24.5m collected in 2006 - which was itself down by 68% from $75m in 2005.

But KOFIC stated that the recent shift towards revenue-sharing deals needs to be factored into the drop, with $12.1m of overage fees that came in last year bringing the actual total to $24.4m from exports.

Although country-by country revenue-sharing deal breakdowns are not available, Japan remains the biggest buyer of Korean films where flat fees and minimum guarantees are concerned. The country's Korean acquisitions amounted to $3.3m, down from $10.4m the year before, and $60.3m from heated competitive bidding in 2005.

Last year, 124 local films were produced, up 12.7% from the 110 films in 2006, when production went up 26.4%.

KOFIC said the increase in production figures last year - despite local consensus that investment has slowed recently - was due to the fact that more low-budget films were produced. The industry body also observed that the films released had benefited from an influx of capital from backdoor listings and M&As during the 2004-2007 period.

Too many unripe productions were greenlit too early during that period, leading to an inflation in numbers, which ultimately resulted in local audiences turning their backs on local films.

The average production budget for mainstream films - excluding low-budget indies and megabudget blockbusters such as D-War - was $3.9m. This figure included $1.2m in p&a spend, down slightly from recent previous years, thanks to an industry-wide effort to keep costs under control.

In total, 392 films were released last year of which 112 were Korean. The number of foreign films released - 280 in total - was up 18.1% from the 237 foreign titles released the year before. Local and US films combined accounted for a 94% share of the market.

In distributor rankings, CJ Entertainment, now the exclusive distributor for Paramount titles in Korea, broke away from years of rivalry with Showbox Mediaplex to lead the pack with a 29.7% market share. Showbox followed at 12.3% with local hits D-War and 200 Pounds Beauty.

Warner Brothers led the US direct distributors with 11.3% market share, up twofold year-on-year with hits such as Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. Sony Pictures Releasing-Buena Vista International Korea came next with 9.8%, followed by Lotte Entertainment (8.6%), Cinema Service (7.2%), 20th Century Fox (5.6%), UPI Korea (3.5%), Prime Entertainment (3.4%) and Studio 2.0 (2.3%).

South Korea Top Ten 2007

1. D-War (Korea) Showbox Mediaplex - 8.4m

2. Transformers (US) CJ Entertainment - 7.4m

3. May 18 (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 7.3m

4. Pirates Of The Caribbean - At World's End (US) SPR-BVI Korea - 4.96m

5. Spiderman 3 (US) SPR-BVI Korea - 4.93m

6. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (US) Warner Bros - 3.47m

7. Die Hard 4.0 (US) 20th Century Fox - 3.3m

8. Voice Of A Murderer (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 3.1

9. 200 Pounds Beauty (Korea) Showbox Mediaplex - 3.06m (6.6m including 2006 admissions)

10. Le Grand Chef (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 3.03m

South Korea Top Ten Local Films 2007

1. D-War (Korea) Showbox Mediaplex - 8.4m

2. May 18 (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 7.3m

3. Voice Of A Murderer (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 3.1

4. 200 Pounds Beauty (Korea) Showbox Mediaplex - 3.06m (6.6m including 2006 admissions)

5. Le Grand Chef (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 3.03m

6. Miracle On 1st Street (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 2.7m

7. Paradise Murdered (Korea) MK Pictures - 2.2m

8. By The Book (Korea) CJ Entertainment - 2.1m

9. Seven Days (Korea) Prime Entertainment - 2m

10. A Day For An Affair (Korea) Cinema Service - 1.8m

Source: Korean Film Council