SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) — The number of people who went to theaters in the first six months of the year dropped to a record low due to the protracted novel coronavirus pandemic, box-office data showed Friday.
A total of 20 million moviegoers were recorded in the first half of 2021, down 38.2 percent from the same period last year, according to the data by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).
It is the lowest half-year figure since the KOFIC started to compile box-office data in 2004.
Theaters’ combined revenues slumped 32 percent on-year to 186.3 billion won (US$161.9 million) for the January-June period.
But the number of films released in the first half rose 26.2 percent on-year to 332, including 105 homegrown films.
Korean films attracted 3.82 million people over the cited period and posted 34.5 billion won in revenue, marking an 80.9 percent and 79.8 percent on-year plunge, respectively.
Their first-half market share also dropped by 19.1 percent in terms of attendance and 42.6 percent in revenue.
The number of film attendees remained sluggish in January and February in the aftermath of a spike in COVID-19 infections in winter.
But it made a turnaround from March thanks to Hollywood blockbusters, including “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “F9.”
By revenue, “F9,” the latest chapter in the “Fast and Furious” series, was the top-grossing film in the first half of 2021, with 21.9 billion won.
The Japanese animation “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train” finished second with 20.6 billion won and Disney’s fantasy “Soul” placed third with 19 billion won.
Some 482,000 people visited theaters on May 19, marking the highest daily score in the first half, as “F9,” which was released on that day, scooped up 400,000 people.