South Korea’s box office hit an all-time record in 2013 of $1.75bn (KW1.88tr),

Box office sales went up 6.6% year-on-year. Admissions also rose 9% to 213 million, bringing the number of films viewed per capita to 4.25 in 2013, according to a comprehensive analysis report from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

Korean films took 59.7% of the market, up from 58.8% the year before.

South Korea’s 2013 Top 10


1. Miracle In Cell No. 7 (N.E.W.) 12,810,776

2. Snowpiercer (CJ E&M) 9,341,747

3. The Face Reader (Showbox/Mediaplex) 9,134,463

4. Iron Man 3 (Sony Pictures Releasing Walt Disney Studio Korea) 9,001,309

5. The Berlin File (CJ E&M) 7,166,177

6. Secretly Greatly (Showbox/Mediaplex) 6,963,866

7. The Attorney (N.E.W.) 5,686,919

8. Hide And Seek (N.E.W.) 5,604,104

9. The Terror Live (Lotte Entertainment) 5,579,125

10. Cold Eyes (N.E.W.) 5,506,770

Exports/ancillary markets increase

With the international sales of Bong Joon-ho’s English-language thriller Snowpiercer and a rise in VFX and digital intermediate services done for large-scale films from Hong Kong and mainland China, Korea’s film business exports also rose 57.2% to $59m.

Films sales alone went up a massive 83.7% to $37m. KOFIC reports Snowpiercer accounted for half of all sales.

Ancillary markets saw a 24% boost to $246.2m (KW267bn) thanks to increased IPTV services such as video-on-demand subscriptions.

KOFIC noted that 2013 set a precedent for Korean capital, personnel and productions to go overseas to shoot with foreign locations, companies, actors and languages.

Films such as Snowpiercer and the mainland China hit A Wedding Invitation, directed by Korean Oh Ki-hwan with Chinese stars, are examples of CJ E&M-financed foreign language productions.

Notable Korean directors such as Park Chan-wook and Kim Jee-woon also went to work on overseas productions such as Stoker and The Last Stand respectively.

The report also makes note of investor/distributor Next Entertainment World (N.E.W.), which last year saw a string of hits including its unexpectedly huge successes Miracle In Cell No. 7 and The Attorney. Both films generated more than 10 million admissions.

The company beat previous industry leader CJ for the top investor/distributor ranking, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that N.E.W., unlike CJ, Lotte or Showbox, is unaffiliated with any conglomerate or cinema chain.