Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the box office sales in Korea decreased by 1 trillion KRW (914,579,200 USD) compared to 2019. The combined sales of major Korean film industries this year are also expected to decrease by 60 percent compared to last year.
The Korean Film Council published a report on December 14 with the title "Covid19 Impact: Provisional accounts of the Korean Film Industry in 2020." According to the data, the total sales of tickets, stores, and advertising profits in the January-September period of this year totaled 479.6 billion KRW (~439 Million USD), down 69.2 percent, compared with 1.5587 trillion KRW (~1.43 Billion USD) in the same period last year.
The situation worsened due to a decrease in audience and suspension of production of new films. The report stated that 93 theaters among the 423 total major theaters from CGV, Lotte Cinema, Megabox, and CineQ in Korea closed in March and 106 theaters closed in April. In the aftermath, the number of moviegoers hit a record low of 972,572 people in April since the integrated computer network tracking the data was launched.
With the sales of theaters supporting the movie industry plummeting, revenues from the film industry will not exceed 1 trillion KRW even if major sectors are added. Since the country's first confirmed case on January 20th, theater revenue has hit a monthly low of 62.3 billion KRW in February, 15.2 billion KRW in March, and 7.5 billion KRW in April. Currently, the total theater sales up until November are down 70 percent to 498 billion KRW, compared with 1.7273 trillion KRW in the same period last year. The outlook for December is not bright either due to the third surge in the number of COVID19 patients in Korea.
Imports of VOD (Video On Demand) and overseas markets, another major sector, also declined. Compared to last year, TV VOD sales rose sharply in January and February. However, the number showed a steady decline from March to October. This year, sales of movies in the online market, which includes TV VOD and Internet VOD revenue estimates, amounted to 363.5 billion KRW. The estimated amount of overseas sales such as exports of finished films and technology services is also estimated at 39.4 billion KRW, down more than 50 percent from last year. The estimated sales totaled 913.2 billion KRW in all of these major sectors in the domestic film market were down 63.6 percent, from 2.5093 trillion won last year.
The damage caused by the postponement of the production and premiere of films has also been found to have had a huge impact. Of the 135 films that participated in the survey, the amount of damage caused by delays and changes in production reached 11.34 billion KRW. The amount of damage caused by delays in preparation for the release reached 9.73 billion KRW. Employment has also been drastically reduced due to closures and decreased sales at theaters. According to a survey of the workforce structure of 407 theaters in October, 621 full-time movie theater workers (15.9%) and 8,144 contract workers (70.2%) were reduced compared to December of last year.