Korean filmexports for the first half of 2006 are down 58% year-on-year, according tofigures released by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). Total exports came to$17.4m, compared to $41.8m in the first six months of 2005.

The main reasonfor the sharp decline in sales is that Japan, Korea's biggest buyer, has pulled the brakes ontheir competitive buying spree for Korean Wave star vehicles since last year. Japan spent $30.9m on 36 films in the firsthalf of 2005, while this year the territory only bought 15 films in the sameperiod for $8.7m.

Major pre-salesin 2005 went to Japan for such hits as BaeYong-joon starrer April Snow, which sold for $7.5m andbrought in over $20m in the Japanese box office. Jung Woo-sung starrer A Moment To Remember pulled in a record $22m last year as well,but the top Korean hit in Japan this year to date is Now And Forever, which only brought in $3.4m.

Making up 50% oftotal exports, Japan still leads the 47 countries that bought128 titles (including overlapping titles for different territories) from Korea. Thailand accounted for 9.8% of sales, France for 5.9% and the US for 5.3%.

Overall, the averagesales price per film has gone down 50.2% from $273,268 to $136,088. Thespread shows 63.5% less exports to Asia and 40% less to Europe. However, South America went up 75.9%.

KOFIC's report analyses that "the decrease insales this first half is not a temporary phenomenon, but a re-adjustment to arealistic level in prices and number of films exported" after the star-vehiclebubble has popped on the Japan side.

Meanwhile, Bong Joon-ho's monster hit TheHost, which was pre-sold last year for $4.7m, is currently awaiting amuch-anticipated Japanese release on 250 screens next month.