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Ministry of Culture urges that box office results be calculated based on earnings rather than admissions

Sep 01, 2023
  • Source by Cine21
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The end to the “Ten-Million-Viewer Films”?


Korean logo of South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism


The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has requested the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) to report box office sales in terms of gross earnings rather than admissions, as is the current practice, in order to more accurately reflect each title's business outcomes. 


KOFIC operates an integrated ticket sales network that automatically compiles all ticket sales data directly from the country's film exhibitors and calculates box office results. 


The Ministry also intends to propose a legal revision that would allow film distributors to be fined for intentionally omitting or manipulating data from the integrated network, whereas the current law only allows film exhibitors to face such a penalty. "The controversy over manipulating box office numbers has eroded public trust in the Korean film industry," said Park Bo-gyoon, Minister of Culture. "We need to prevent excessive competition over viewer numbers and increase transparency in the film industry."


This measure is a response to the box office manipulation controversy that first surfaced in June. On June 13th, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's Anti-Corruption and Public Crime Investigation Unit raided three multiplex companies and three film distributors, and on August 16th, it referred 69 individuals from three multiplex companies and 24 film distributors to prosecution. These individuals are accused of inflating admission numbers by entering incorrect ticket issuance data, totaling 2.67 million fake admissions across 323 titles. The allegations include artificially inflating movie ticket prices and viewer numbers, as well as gaming the booking system to make early morning screenings appear sold out in order to promote the film as a commercial hit.


"These days, even for the same movie ticket, prices can vary from free to full price, making it difficult to gauge the success of a title based solely on admission numbers," said a KOFIC official. “However, because the current system requires film distributors to maximize viewer numbers, they are forced to adjust their profit share (the ratio of ticket sales that the distributor receives) or the average ticket price, eating into their own profits." According to them, discussions are underway to adopt an approach similar to that used in the United States and Germany, where gross sales are used as a performance indicator.


"Based on the Ministry's declaration, we held a meeting with exhibitor and distributor representatives on August 23rd and plan to continue discussing amendments moving forward," said another KOFIC official.



By Lee Woo-been

Republication, copying or redistribution by any means is prohibited without the prior permission of KOFIC and the original news source.
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