The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) hasreported local box office and export figures for the first half of the year, which show that film exports bounced up by 37% to $10.2m, after steep declines since 2005.

Sales to North America shot up by 1,740% from $154,500 to $2.84m, mostly due to an increase in the salesof home video rights,and the sales of remake rights to The Chaser and Seven Days to Warner Bros and Summit Entertainment respectively.

Asia is still Korea's biggest buyer with $4.85m, up 18.3% year-on-year. Exports to Japan rose 15.8% with the pre-sales of Japanese manga-based Antique, starring Joo Ji-hoon, and Rough Cut, starring So Ji-sub. Both actors are well-known in Japan from TV series.

Europe is down 27% to $2.2m but Germany acquired $600,000 worth of films and the UK bought $430,000, including well-made commercial films such as The Chaser, The Good, The Bad, The Weird and Dachimawa Lee. Oceania is down 15.1% to $66,250, and South America is down 84.1% to $17,000.

Also, sales companies reported that $350,000 in overages from previous deals were paid during the first half of the year.

For the first time, KOFIC's annual first-half box office report covers nationwide figures instead of just Seoul figures. Overall box office gross clocked in at $450.37m (KW455.38bn) and admissions at 70.1 million, down from 72.8 million year-on-year.

Local films took a 37.6% market share, while directly distributed US films took 20.8% and - for the first time since KOFIC started keeping track in 1998 - US films imported by local distributors took more market share than the direct-distribution ones, with 32.9%. This is mostly accounted for by the fact that CJ Entertainment now exclusively handles all Paramount titles in Korea.

Comparing market share in Seoul with last year's first half, US titles are up 5.1% and European films are up 1.8%. Local films are down 6.7% - about the same as the US and Europeans films' total increase.

Of the 195 films newly released in 2008 - up from 178 releases year-on-year - the number of local films stayed the same at 50.

Korea Box Office Top 10 (Jan 1-June 30, 2008 )

Film Title (Release date) Distributor (Screens) Admissions / Gross (in Korean Won)

1. The Chaser (Feb 14) Showbox Mediaplex (435) 5.07m / 33.94bn

2. Iron Man (Apr 30) CJ Entertainment (592) 4.31m / 27.80bn

3. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (May 22) CJ Ent (660) 4.13m / 26.69bn

4. Forever The Moment (Jan 10) SidusFNH (418) 4.04m / 26.15bn

5. Kung Fu Panda (June 5) CJ Ent (351) 3.99m / 25.70bn

6. Public Enemy Returns (June 19) CJ Ent (659) 2.81m / 18.64bn

7. Taken (Apr 9) Studio2.0 (254) 2.38m / 15.96bn

8. Jumper (Feb 14) 20th Century Fox Korea (353) 1.69m / 11.00bn

9. Open City (Jan 10) CJ Entertainment (336) 1.61m /10.59bn

10. Once Upon A Time In Corea (Jan 30) SK Telecom (315) 1.56m / 10.18bn

* $1 = KW1,011