KOFIC reports that gross was $1.1bn for the year.

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced record figures for 2011 at the South Korean box office. Nationwide gross totaled a record $1.1bn (KW1.23 trillion), up 7.4% year-on-year. Admissions also went up 8.7% to 159 million. Local films bounced up to take more than 50% market share for the first time in four years, and exports also trended up for the first time in five years.

KOFIC noted that local films like period action film War of the Arrows [pictured], nostalgic high school drama Sunny, multi-cultural coming-of-age film Punch and child abuse exposé Silenced made waves not only at the box office but also as social phenomena. Thanks to several Korean films that became part of the social dialogue, local titles led the overall market and took over 52% market share.

Export figures for completed films are back up again at $15.8m, up 16.5% year-on-year. A record total of 366 films were exported last year. Asia made up for 56.9% of sales with Japan and China strong buyers. In particular, exports to China went up 94.8% year-on-year.

The total number of screens dropped to 1,982. This is down from 2,003 the year before and marks the first time in four years the number went down below 2,000, indicating what KOFIC denotes as a saturation in cinemas.

Per capita film-viewing went up to 3.15 films last year, up from 2.92 the year before.

South Korea: Top 10 Films in 2011

(Title/ Distributor/ Admissions/ Gross)

1. Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon (CJ E&M) 7,784,944/ $66.3m (KW74.8bn)

2. War of the Arrows (a.k.a. Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon) (Lotte Entertainment) 7,470,633/ $49.4m (KW55.8bn)

3. Sunny  (CJ E&M) 7,362,657/ $47.8m (KW54bn)

4. Punch (CJ E&M) 5,309,928/ $34m (KW38.5bn)

5. Kung Fu Panda 2 (CJ E&M) 5,062,722/ $39m (KW44.3bn)

6. Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (CJ E&M) 5,042,164/ $33.9m (KW38.2bn)

7. Detective K: Secret of Virtuous Widow (Showbox / Mediaplex) 4,786,259/ $31.7m (KW35.8bn)

8. Silenced (CJ E&M) 4,662,822/ $31.5m (KW35.5bn)

9. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Warner Brothers Korea) 4,400,298/ $30.5m (KW34.5bn)

10. Real Steel (Sony Pictures Releasing Buena Vista International Korea) 3,579,666/ $23.5m (KW26.5bn)