Usually, when I talk about films, I always think about Hollywood. Hollywood is the largest film industry in the World. It produces, on average 600 films a year and with it having the biggest and most affluent celebrities in the World, Hollywood is an industry to be reckoned with. However, I want to look past the King Midas of film industries and delve into a more up and coming, popular film industry which is on the rise. I want to look at the Korean Film Industry.
The Korean Film Industry has been booming recently. It seems quite odd when thinking about it actually. During the 1990s, the Korean Industry’s domestic market share was at an all time low. The industry was suffering. However, in 2006 the Korean Industry marketing share rose by 64%! How did this happen in the small space of 10 years?
To look back at how the Korean Industry rose to great heights, we are going to need to go back to the 1960s. Korea at this time was governed by a harsh dictatorship. This meant that there was a lot more censorship and people were regulated on what films they can produce.
However, this all changed in the 1990s when a democracy emerged establishing a new and more free society for the country. This means that the American studios were able to distribute their films within Korea’s market. However, the Korean industry was determined to create their own original productions.
Currently, South Korea is one of the biggest film industries in the whole World. Not only due to films, but the many popular TV series and K pop music videos which have propelled South Korea’s popular industry. In 2015, six of the top 10 films at the Korean box office were Korean films. There combined box office is $353 million.
Not only are they box office successes, but many of their films have garnered critical acclaim. Train to Busan (2016), Oldboy (2003), The Chaser (2008) and The Wailing (2016) have all been a critical and commercial successes.
The question I am asking myself now is, how did they pull it off? Its a lot simpler than I though actually. The reason behind the industry’s success was due to producing high quality, story driven films. After the success of the action film ‘Shiri’ (1999), more high quality films from the Korean Film Industry were produced. This increased the demand from foreign film markets. Eventually, Korean films were flooding the US and other foreign film markets, proving that it was becoming a high and mighty industry.
The Korean film industry still proves to be successful to this day producing high quality films and providing their audience with story driven entertainment.