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S. Korean cinemas expected to hit record attendance in 2019

South Korean movie theaters are expected to attract the largest-ever number of viewers this year on the back of a number of smash-hit series in the first half of the year, data showed Friday.

More than 204 million tickets were sold in theaters around the country in the first 11 months, up 5 percent from the same period last year, according to the data by the Korean Film Council.

The number is expected to hit an all-time high of 220 million by the end of 2019 given that about 20 million tickets are usually sold in December, the KOFIC said. The current record is 219.9 million set in 2017.


Big-name blockbusters released mostly in the first half led the record-breaking rally, it said.

Four films -- "Extreme Job," "Avengers: Endgame," "Aladdin" and "Parasite" -- posted more than 10 million admissions, considered a huge box-office success in a country with a population of about 52 million.

Homegrown comedy film "Extreme Job" opened in January and posted the year's highest mark with a total of 16.2 million tickets sold, followed by Marvel's "Avengers: Endgame" with 13.9 million and Walt Disney's live-action film "Aladdin" with 10.3 million. The Cannes-winning "Parasite" joined the 10-million club with 10.1 million admissions in July.

In December, Disney's "Frozen 2" will be the fifth film of this year and 27th of all time to record more than 10 million tickets sold in South Korea. Opening Nov. 21, the sequel to the 2014 global sensation "Frozen" already has attracted 9.3 million moviegoers through Thursday.

It will be the first time in the South Korean box office that five films have hit the milestone in a year, eclipsing the annual record of four set in 2014 -- "Frozen," "Interstellar," the Korean historical movie "Roaring Currents" and the Korean drama "Ode to My Father."

Moreover, other Korean films did a good job at luring more film buffs to the theaters. The action comedy, "Exit," posted 9.4 million in attendance, and "The Battle: Roar to Victory," a historical action movie about an independent battle against the Japanese military, marked 4.8 million.

The crime movie "The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos" and the drama "Kim Ji-young, Born 1982" sold 4.6 million and 3.7 million tickets, respectively.

Foreign films, especially Disney-made flicks, were also on a roll in 2019. "Spider-Man: Far From Home" logged 8 million tickets sold, and "Captain Marvel" hit 5.8 million, while 5.2 million and 4.7 million people saw the Venice-winning "Joker" and "Lion King," respectively. (Yonhap)