It won’t come as a surprise to anyone in the movie theatre business that premium format auditoriums such as IMAX, 4DX and Dolby Cinema generate higher attendance. However, exhibitors and distributors in South Korea performed an experiment, perhaps not purposefully, and found out that even audiences who have seen a film will return to see it again in a premium format.
This phenomena is being credited with drawing more than 70,000 viewers to see “The First Slam Dunk” in IMAX during a seven day span between 5 – 14 April. The animated film about a high school basketball team, which is directed by Takehiko Inoue and produced by Toei Animation, was first released in Korea on 4 January and it went on to sell nearly 4 million tickets. The one-week only IMAX release came three months later, yet tickets for the limited screenings sold out as soon as they went on sale.
Meanwhile the Japanese anime title “Suzume” has been a huge hit in Korea, earning USD $37.7 million from 4.8 million admissions since it’s release on 8 March. The Makoto Shinkai movie is now both the highest grossing Japanese film of all-time in Korea as well as the biggest hit of 2023. Two weeks after the film was released, “Suzume” opened in 4DX and on its first day attendance jumped 19.7%. As of this week the 4D version of the movie has taken in more than KRW 1.69 billion won (USD $1.27 million), or 3.5% of the total sales of KRW 48.5 billion (USD $36.5 million). This outpaces the IMAX gross, even though that version of the film opened on the first day of release.