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S. Korea seeks to adopt ceiling on screen domination by big-budget films

Art/Culture 11:00 October 14, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking to put a ceiling on the number of movie screens allotted for a single film in a bid to prevent a screen monopoly by big-budget blockbusters, the culture ministry said Monday.

"The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will seek a revision of the 'Promotion of the Motion Pictures and Video Products Act' with an eye on the adoption of a screen ceiling in order to address unfair (competition) practices in the film industry," the ministry said as part of a broader film industry promotion plan.

Currently, nearly 80 percent of movie screens nationwide are controlled by multiplexes run by two conglomerates -- CJ and Lotte Group.

This market dominance has unfairly allowed one particular movie, often a big-budget flick or a Hollywood blockbuster distributed by affiliates of the cinema giants, to take up the majority of local cinema screens, leaving little chance for the cinematic debuts of indie films or other works by smaller production and distribution firms.

S. Korea seeks to adopt ceiling on screen domination by big-budget films - 1

A revised law is expected to place a cap on the number of movie screens that a single film can be screened simultaneously so that a broader variety of titles could be screened.

Previously proposed law revisions put the ceiling somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of the total screens.

According to the culture ministry, the number of films that took up more than half of the country's total movie screens upon their release reached three in the period of 2013-2015. The corresponding figure shot up to 12 in the period of 2016-2018.

Under the film industry development plan, the culture minister is also moving to establish a center for cinematic cooperation between South Korea and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Under the strategy, the ministry will also set up a fund to help finance creative works by small and medium-sized film productions in a bid to diversify the content of the local film industry.

Culture Minister Park Yang-woo said his ministry will continue to make efforts to create a diverse and healthy environment for the film industry.


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