Asian Box Office Recovery Leaves Korea Behind

·2-min read

Theatrical box office in the Asia Pacific region is recovering from the lows established early last year at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But South Korea has not shared in the upswing.

Data from OpusData compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence showed a 79% increase in the first four months of 2021, compared with the same period in 2020. That gave a total of $3.49 billion.

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China, which has been operating largely normally since October 2020, is not only the biggest market, it is also the biggest recovery story. It accounted for fully $2.93 billion of the regional aggregate.

Takings in the year through April rose 108% year over year in China. In Australia they grew 82% to $248 million. Japan saw a 0.2% year-over-year increase with film revenue totaling $231 million.

South Korea, in normal years one of the word’s largest box office territories, was the only tracked market to see a decline in film revenue, which fell 49.6% year over year to $78.1 million. Theaters in the country are open, but social distancing measures, cautions audiences and film distribution delays are impacting attendance levels.

S&P Global Market says that the recovery is accelerating. In the year through March, box office revenue increased 54% year over year, ending a period of decline. This was despite the number of releases falling in April compared to the first quarter. On a year-over-year basis, the number of releases rose 113% in April.

China’s “Hi, Mom” is the biggest film anywhere in the world this year, with a Chinese box office total of $836 million. The country has seen 199 releases to date, also the highest figure in the region.

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