The film industry is suffering tremendously due to the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to help, the South Korean government has announced a set of measures to support the local film industry, which has been negatively impacted during the outbreak.

According to Variety, multiplex chains will be exempted from having to contribute to the country’s film development fund, for example. The fund usually operates as a mandatory contribution of 3% from the gross box office. Since 2017, that has amounted to more than $40 million annually, and the government has stated that the exemption will apply retroactively from early February.

Another measure involves a subsidy for the marketing costs of twenty selected films that were forced to cancel their theatrical releases during the months of February and March, when audience numbers were dismally dropping. Cash injections have also been proposed for twenty selected film productions, where filming was halted because of the pandemic. There will also be a provision of specialized vocational training for four hundred casual workers who’ve lost their jobs in the industry because of the coronavirus crisis.


In the past decade or so, Korean cultural industries have had remarkable success on the international market, mostly powered by K-pop music and the export of Korean dramas. Further contributing to the Halyu wave was ‘Parasite’ (2019), Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece which won a slew of Cannes prizes and Academy Awards, among other prestigious trophies. Last year was particularly fortuitous with record box office numbers, but takings have fallen dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak.

KOFIC (the Korean Film Council) have reported that barely over 1.83 million tickets were sold in March of this year which, when compared to 14.7 million in the same month of 2019, proves that the South Korean movie industry has taken a severe hit. February 2020 didn’t do much better either, with a depressed 7.37 million tickets sold. Needless to say, the government’s proposed measures are more than welcome at this point.

The aforementioned fund contribution exemption only serves the industry’s largest companies, since small exhibitors were already spared of these payments. On top of that, since the fund contribution is a percentage of ticket revenue and not a flat fee, the recent box office drops would have already reduced the big chains’ requirement to pay.

The Korean Film Council is also due to announce its own set of supportive measures soon enough, in a bid to further help the movie industry recover from a crisis that is taking a massive toll on creatives worldwide.