‘No. 1 in seat occupancy rate’, ‘Soaring up the box office’, ‘Revitalizing single screen theaters’, ‘Spread globally over SNS’…
Netflix, a video streaming company, invested 56 billion won into the movie ‘Okja’ (Director Bong Joon-Ho), which has been a hot issue even before it was released through various records and unusual sceneries.
On June 29, ‘Okja’ was released in 190 countries worldwide via Netflix. At the request of Director Bong Joon-Ho, they tried to show the movie in theaters. However, large domestic multiplexes (CJ CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox) boycotted the movie because they claimed that showing a movie that can is simultaneously streamed online can change the order of distribution for existing movies.
As a result, ‘Okja’ was released in 84 theaters and 108 screens across the country, including small and medium sized theaters, independent movie theaters, and private cinemas. The outcome of the movie was great despite it being released in a relatively small number of screens. According to the Korean Film Council’s Korean Box Office Information System, ‘Okja’ was 4th on the daily box office with a total of 23,734 viewers on the day of its release. In particular, it achieved 43.8% seat occupancy rate to show a great interest in the movie. On July 1, the seat occupancy rate soared to 56.1%.
On July 6, ‘Okja’ charged the 3rd spot on the box office with a total of 9,356 people in 93 theaters in Korea. The cumulative number of viewers currently adds up to 161,954. These results are amazing considering how the movie was shown on a much smaller number of screens compared to competing productions such as ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (1,733 theaters), ‘Anarchist from Colony’ (756 theaters), ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ (379 theaters), and ‘Real’ (313 theaters). On top of this, ‘Okja’ soared up the box office charts from 4th to 3rd place on this day. These results were achieved even with huge multiplexes, which account for about 90% of the national screen boycotting it to display the great amount of interest in this movie.
Thanks to ‘Okja’, independent movie theaters which are mainly visited by middle-aged people had a chance to come back to life. For the first time since its opening, Busan Cinema Center sold out its early morning tickets and achieved a pre-sale rate of over 80%. Moreover, the Seoul Art Cinema sold out its tickets for all the time slots for this movie on the day it was released.
The Myung Film Art Center in Paju was also successful in attracting visitors from Seoul and other regions as it is the only place in Korea that shows the movie through a 4K video footage with a Dolby Atmos sound system. ‘Okja’ was only shown twice, once on July 1 and again on July 2 and all 146 tickets for these days were completely sold out. According to Myung Film Arts Center, more than 70% of the audience was from Seoul who came to properly enjoy the movie. All the seats for July 8 and 9 were also all sold out as expected.
There has also been a worldwide wave of recognition for this movie. Being released in 190 countries induced a wave of people, who watched the movie in various languages to post pictures and opinions based on the movie on various SNS channels. These postings showed how various people watched ‘Okja’ on different platforms such as televisions, computers (laptops), tablet PCs, mobile phones, and theaters.
A British daily newspaper, The Guardian selected ‘Okja’ as one of the best films of the year with Park Chan-Wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’ among 27 other movies. More people are showing a greater interest in Netflix with the popularity of ‘Okja’. However, Netflix did not exactly disclose how many paid subscribers increased due to ‘Okja’.
However, a Netflix official said, “I feel the great interest being shown in ‘Okja’ and it is a film that displays the creative but bold and cinematic tension of world-renowned director Bong Joon-Ho to be loved by 100 million users.”
Translated by Choi Na Ri