South Korea’s 2009 box office admissions rose by 4.8% year-on-year to 156,319,224 tickets, according to estimates by leading local exhibitor CJ CGV.

Admissions to foreign films dropped by 6,040,000, a 7.1% fall year-on-year, but overall admissions rose on the back of local films, which sold 13,180,000 more tickets than in the previous year, a rise of 20.8%. 

Led by tsunami blockbuster Haeundae and ski jump drama Take Off, local films took a 49% market share, up 6.5% from 2008. Comedies such as My Girlfriend Is An Agent and Scandal Makers and provocative films such as the period drama A Frozen Flower brought in audiences, along with word-of-mouth hits including the low-budget documentary Old Partner.

Foreign films were led by sci-fi and fantasy blockbusters such as Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, 2012, Avatar, Terminator Salvation and Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.

Last month, cinemas sold 16,843,832 tickets to record the highest December attendance in history. The figure was up 18% year-on-year and up 57.8% on November’s admissions.

South Korea’s 2009 Top 10


1. Haeundae (South Korea), CJ Entertainment, 11,474,346

2. Take Off (South Korea), Showbox Mediaplex, 8,526,474

3. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (US), CJ Entertainment, 7,431,052

4. 2012 (US) Sony Pictures Releasing Buena Vista International Kore, 5,428,030

5. Avatar (US),  20th Century Fox, 5,140,316

6. Terminator Salvation (US, Lotte Entertainment, 4,526,940

7. My Girlfriend Is An Agent (South Korea), Lotte Entertainment, 4,090,098

8. Scandal Makers (South Korea), Lotte Entertainment, 4,000,130 (in 2009 alone. Total incl. 2008 figures: 8,312,566)

9. A Frozen Flower (South Korea), Showbox Mediaplex, 3,373,380 (in 2009 alone. Total incl. 2008 figures: 3,833,541)

10. Running Turtle (South Korea), Showbox Mediaplex, 3,065,158