SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's three major multiplex chain operators said Monday they will provide additional financial support to new movies next month as an inducement strategy to bring weary moviegoers back to cinemas amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.
In the South Korean film industry, theaters and film distributing companies divide the revenues from ticket sales in a certain ratio, with the latter sharing their portion with investors and producers.
CJ CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox said they will give an extra 1,000 won (US$0.91) per viewer of movies released through directly owned theaters in February to film distributors for the first two weeks. For films screened in theaters not under direct control of the multiplex operators, they will be given 500 won per ticket sold.
All February releases, including Korean and foreign films, will be subject to the policy, they added.
The measure came as the protracted COVID-19 pandemic has dragged down the number of moviegoers and led to a drought of new films for months.
A number of blockbusters have put off their releases throughout this year, including the sci-fi action film "Seobok" and the musical "Hero." Some big-budget films, like the space opera "Space Sweepers," were brought to Netflix without a theatrical run.
The total number of moviegoers hit a record low of 5.9 million last year, with 3.8 billion won in revenue, also marking an all-time low since the Korean Film Council started to compile box office data in 2004.
"The cinemas have made a meaningful decision to normalize the movie industry hit hard by the pandemic," said Lee Chang-moo, who leads the association of three theaters. "We expect distributing companies to respond with new releases."