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South Korea taking on Hollywood

A boom in film production and a Presidential boost to the arts is bringing the local film industry to new heights.

With multi-million dollar budgets for local productions, a building frenzy of new multiplex cinemas and a strengthening economy, filmmakers have a reason to celebrate.

Domestic films used to make up less than 15% of the market, but now that figure has reached over 50% thanks to increased investment in films targeting the domestic audience. The demand for Hollywood style films has been at the centre of the revamp, where audiences want to see big action and special effects like you would see in a high budget production.

Recently inaugurated Kim Dae-jung has also given the local film industry a boost by relaxing censorship rules, increasing subsidies in the arts, which has in turn boosted other genre films such a dark comedies.

Renowned action director Lee Jung-Beom’s The Man From Nowhere has so far earned $40 million in South Korea alone, and is a prime example of how high budget films are paying huge dividends to investors.

Although demand may be strong at home, and Hollywood film imports are less likely to dominate than before, there is still a long way to go before local film productions can compete on the same scale, and with the same types of budgets, as Hollywood. The American domestic market alone is the biggest in the world for English language films, and should South Korean filmmakers want to conquer Hollywood in America, they may have to work a little harder.

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