Disney Alleged To Have Violated Antritrust Laws in South Korea Over Its Release Of ‘Frozen 2’
A South Korean civic group has lodged a complaint with local prosecutors against the Korean unit of the Walt Disney Company, claiming that the company violated the country’s antitrust act by screening Frozen 2 on over 88% of the country’s movie screens.
According to a news report by Korean news agency Yonhap, The Public Welfare Committee (PWC) believes that Disney’s behavior constitutes a monopoly over the country’s movie market and is demanding a government probe into their activities. Their complaint says in part:
On Nov. 23, Frozen 2 had an 88-percent share of all screens and 16,220 showings, breaking the record set by Avengers: Endgame in the number of showings in the history of the Korean cinema. This is a case of one business occupying more than 50 percent of the market and constitutes a violation of the antitrust law.…[Disney has] attempted to monopolize the screens and seek great profit in the short term, restricting the consumer’s right to choose.
Frozen 2 may simply be the tipping point in a long-running battle between South Korean filmmakers and the country’s film industry conglomerates. Last week, the Cineastes Council for Anti-Monopoly, a group that represents Korean filmmakers, released a statement that said, “The screen monopoly is not a one-off case. The government has to tackle the winner-take-all cinema market.”
Ninety-three percent of the movie screens in S. Korea are controlled by just three conglomerates — CJ Group, Lotte Group, and Megabox. In the case of CJ, they own the country’s largest film distributor in addition to being an exhibitor, a conflict of interest that creates an imbalance in the types of films screened in multiplexes.
A bill is currently pending in the Korean government that would restrict the percentage of any film shown in multiplexes to under 50 percent during the prime moviegoing hours of 1-11pm.
Frozen 2 has earned over $60 million in South Korea since its release, making it the third-largest market for the film at the moment, trailing only the United States and China.
A story in The Hollywood Reporter questions the PWC’s methodology for claiming Frozen 2 occupied over 88% of screens. Per THR:
The metric used by PWC, as well as other film industry bodies, to measure screen share uses the percentage of screens showing a specific film at least once in the given day. But the other organizations, including the state-run Korean Film Council (KOFIC), calculate screen share by taking the total number of times a certain film was shown and dividing it by the total number of times any film was shown on that day. Using KOFIC’s measure, the screen share — or percentage of showings — of Frozen 2 on Nov. 23 was 46.3 percent, not the 88 percent figure cited by PWC.
Either way you cut it, that’s a lot of Olaf for one country.