Watching movies has been one of the most popular hobbies for years. People often refer to the number of viewers when selecting the movie to watch. Starting from Silmido in 2003, the first movie which drew in more than 10 million viewers, total of 18 movies recorded over 10 million viewers in Korea and have been called “successful movies” mainly thanks to its total attendance. Because the title of “10 million movie” is so attractive to achieve huge success, some movie officials cheat to increase the number of viewers unfairly.
According to Korean Film Council, there were a total of 2,424 screens in Korea theaters in 2015. A Violent Prosecutor (with 9,706,697 viewers), released on February 3rd, 2016, was shown on a maximum of 1,812 screens a day. At the same day, Bad Guys Always Die, released on February 4th, was shown on only 122 screens. Justification of multiplex was always unchanging: A lot of viewers want it. Jung Yoon-chul, the vice-leader of Directors’ Guild of Korea, said “In fact, a multiplex is a place where viewers can watch various movies. Nowadays, however, I think it’s been changing into singleplex.”
Train to Busan (with 11,465,391 viewers) became the first 10 million movie’ in 2016 in Korea. There was a hidden fact in this figure, though. It was released as the name of charged preview 3 days before its actual releasing day and could increase the number of viewers up to 560 thousand before releasing. Actually, it is common to hold various previews in movie industry, but it was a matter of degrees. Total attendance before releasing of Roaring Currents was only 22,500 even though it is the most watched movie in Korea. Compared with this case, it can be guessed that Train to Busan did too many paid preview to draw as many people as it can.
A lot of movies hold various events to make viewers feel more satisfactory, but there are doubts about their real purposes. After 6 weeks of releasing Masquerade (with 12,323,555 viewers), CGV, one of the major multiplexes in Korea, held 1+1 ticket event for it. However, the movie was making quite a good success without the help of it and the event was ongoing even on holidays, almost for a month. The extent of the recipients were also too wide, including twins, the parents of twins, and those who have “kwang” or “hae” in his/her name. For these reasons, it is presumed that its production company, CJ, tried to increase the number of viewers because CGV is an affiliate of the CJ Group.
After all, it is true that the number of viewers is one of the greatest criteria for public to decide whether the movie is worth watching. It is also true, however, that this criterion is not a perfectly reliable one because there exist some tricks to make the movies look more attractive. These tricks in the movie industry are increasingly prevailing nowadays. In this situation, the ability to judge the movie by its cinematic quality, not external factors, will be required to be a more cultured person. By extension, it will also contribute to the well-balanced development of movie industry in the long run.
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