Infinity Wars' South Korean dominance shows not all box office records are good for Marvel

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Apr 30, 2018

We had a feeling Avengers: Infinity War would do some serious box office damage when it opened this past weekend, but we didn’t predict it would cause laws to change. Yet in South Korea, that may just be the case.

Avengers 3 thoroughly dominated the ticket booths in South Korea upon release, like it did all over the globe. According to Variety, the film pocketed $39.1 million from 4.76 million admissions since opening there on Wednesday, including $6.5 million on opening day, over 1 million presale tickets, and record breaking draws for both 4DX and IMAX. 

Theater owners obviously knew the film’s demand would outweigh the supply, so they upped the number of seats available and played the film on 85 percent of the nation’s available screens — 2,553 in total. As such, Infinity War took in 95 percent of the box office over the weekend. The next closest competitor, Intention — a documentary on the Sewol ferry tragedy showing in its third weekend — took in just 1 percent. 

While some might say the cream rises to the top, others worry about a state of oligopoly in Korean cinemas, where markets suffer from lack of competition. While exhibitors have been fined in the past for such uneven distribution, Variety notes that further action is likely on the horizon. 

“The revised laws on promotion of film and video that are currently pending at the national assembly restricts conglomerates-owned multiplexes from allocating more than 40 percent of their screening slots to the same film,” lawmaker Cho Seung-rae told the trade. “At this point, legal, institutional measures for screen monopoly seem necessary.”

Though such changes wouldn’t likely affect Infinity War, they could prove damaging for Marvel’s future films. Not that we’re worried about their bottom line or anything. 

What do you think about such laws forbidding exhibitors from letting one film monopolize their screens? Let us know in the comments!