Korean film exports in the first half of the year dropped by 57% compared to the same period in 2006, according to figures from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

In total, 148 films were sold to 45 countries for a total of $7.48m in the past six months.

The decrease follows a steep decline in last year's total exports, which fell 68% compared to 2005. The continuing downslide brings numbers back to the level of 2002, before export figures started doubling.

Sales to the US and Japan showed the greatest decreases. US sales dropped 83.3% from $925,000 in the first half of 2006 to $154,500 in the first half of this year. Japan sales fell 74.6% from $8.7m to $2.2m.

Sales to Asia overall, which accounts for 54.8% of all Korea 's exports, were down 66.6% from $12.3m. Sales to Europe, which accounts for 40.6% of the total, were down 21.5%, clocking in at $3m. South America was down 63.5% from $293,000 to $107,000, but only accounts for 1.4% of total exports.

France actually saw the biggest increase - a 74.6% rise to $1.82m - thanks to pre-sales on Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad, And The Weird, dubbed an 'Oriental Western' homage to Sergio Leone.

Certain territories with smaller figures did see increases: Taiwan saw a 56.2% increase to $228,000 and Hong Kong also went up 37.6% to $224,300. Oceania is also up 36.9% but only to $78,000.

KOFIC also announced domestic figures for the first half, during which a total of 178 films were released - eight more than last year. Of these, 50 were local productions - two more than last year - disproving pessimistic forecasts that production levels and releases would go down after last year's surplus crop.

But market share for first-run local films decreased from 49.7% to 45.7% in Seoul during the first six months. US films accounted for 47.3% of overall box office, while Chinese films had a 2.2% share, European films 2.2% and Japanese films 1.8%.

More than 65.6 million tickets were sold for these first-run releases. Box offices saw more than 72.8 million viewers in all, including those for films screening in 2007 that had opened before in previous years.