Korean cinemas were in a defensive mode early on in the coronavirus pandemic, as a population familiar with epidemics chose to stay away from crowded places. Social-distancing regulation caught up and then was wound down again in summer. That allowed for the successful theatrical releases of “Deliver Us From Evil,” which scored $34.4 million; “Peninsula,” which grossed $29.5 million; and the year’s top Hollywood film “Tenet” ($16.4 million).
But the window of opportunity closed quickly as autumn and another wave of infections swept in. New capacity restrictions were applied to cinemas.
And even as restrictions have eased audiences have scarcely responded. Weekend box office in what was previously the world’s fourth most-lucrative cinema market has averaged $3 million to $4 million