South Korea saw a record-high number of audience members going to see homegrown films in the first half of 2012, the culture ministry said Tuesday.
A total of 44.18 million people saw local films in the first half, the highest number since 2006, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said in a statement.
The number represents a year-on-year increase of 34.6 percent, or 11.36 million, it said.
Boosted by the strong performance of Korean films, their occupancy rate in the local movie market also remained high with 53.4 percent, the ministry said.
Seven of the top ten best-selling movies for the first half of 2012 were Korean films.
The popularity of local films also helped push up both the total audience number for local movie theaters and ticket sales to their highest levels, the ministry said.
About 83 million people went to see movies in the first half of 2012, increasing total movie ticket sales in the country to a record of 101.7 billion won (US$89 million), according to the ministry.
The government attributed the recent growth of Korean films to the expansion of movie fans in their 30s and 40s, from mainly females in their early 20s.
Most of the Korean films that hit the local box office in the first half targeted 30 and 40 year olds and this strategy appears to have been effective, officials said.
The ministry also said the combined market dominance of the nation‘s three largest movie distributors -- CJ E&M, Lotte Entertainment and Mediaplex -- fell sharply to 67.3 percent from 77.3 percent a year ago. (Yonhap News)