Disney Hit with Complaint in South Korea

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Laghima Pandey

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(from Disney)

Frozen 2 earned over $127 million on opening day alone and topped the box office on Black Friday and over the Thanksgiving weekend. The movie earned $358.2 million within its first three days of opening, which makes it the biggest opening weekend for any animated film in history.

The highly anticipated sequel dominate in the United States and in every market it opened around the world. The only problem is there is one country in currently playing Frozen 2 which has upset some people. The Public Welfare Committee (an NGO) in South Korea, recently filed a complaint with local prosecutors against the Walt Disney Company. 

Frozen 2 has brought in $61.2 million in Korea since it opened on November 23rd, making it the third biggest market worldwide for the film, right behind North America and China. Frozen earned $76.6 million, making it the most ever earned for an animated film in South Korea.

The complaint said that Frozen 2 has violated South Korea’s antitrust act because of the number of movie screens Frozen 2 is currently being shown on. Over the weekend, Frozen 2 was occupying 88% of the movie theaters across South Korea, which the organization is claiming “violates the country’s anti-monopoly law.” It falls “under a clause that defines any individual or company with more than half of the market share as a ‘market-dominant enterprise’.” According to them, Disney has “attempted to monopolize screens and seek great profit in the short term, restricting the consumer’s right to choose.” They are arguing that since Frozen 2 is persuading people to go see this film and is also eliminating their choice of what they would like to see. 

(from Disney)

Upon taking office in April, Korea’s incoming Culture Minister Park Yang-woo promised to consider implementing a screen quota system for the domestic movie industry. That same month National Assembly Representative Woo Sang-ho of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea floated a bill that states the percentage of any film being shown at any multiplex theater cannot surpass 50 percent during prime movie going hours, defined as between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. The bill is currently pending in the National Assembly. Korea’s largest multiplex owners are opposed to the bill, but the country’s indie film community, as well as many professionals working within its commercial industry, have rallied in support of a new screen quota.

Last Monday, a group of filmmakers calling themselves the “Cineastes Council for Anti-Monopoly” issued a statement urging the government to address the issue aggressively. “The screen monopoly is not a one-off case,” the group said. “The government has to tackle the winner-take-all cinema market.”