SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- Korean movies' ticket sales and audience shares in local theaters hit the lowest level in February due to lack of hit films, industry data showed Wednesday.
Korean films' sales and audience shares remained slightly below 20 percent of the total last month, the lowest ever ratio since the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) started compiling data in 2004.
Their ticket sales stood at 13.4 billion won (US$10.3 million) in February, 5.5 percent up from a year earlier but down 7.7 percent from the previous month.
The February tally accounted for about 9.2 percent from the same period in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the movie industry.
Korean movies drew a total of 1.27 million moviegoers last month, accounting for just 7.4 percent of the tally posted in February 2019.
KOFIC attributed the slump to a lack of hit movies in the Lunar New Year holiday season. Before the pandemic, blockbuster Korean movies usually hit theaters in February to draw audiences around the holiday season.
This year, "The Point Men" and "Phantom," both released Jan. 18, attracted 1.72 million and 660,000 viewers, respectively, well below expectations.
Meanwhile, foreign movies posted stronger performances than Korean counterparts, posting 69.1 billion won in sales and 6.42 million admissions in February.
Still, the combined sales and admissions of Korean and foreign movies dropped by over 40 percent in February from a month ago.
Last month, Japanese animated film "The First Slam Dunk" topped the box office with 16.8 million won of ticket sales, followed by Marvel studio's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" with 14.5 billion won.