S. Korean NGO sues Disney over alleged screen monopoly by ‘Frozen 2′

December 2, 2019

A South Korean non-governmental organization has lodged a complaint against the Korean unit of Walt Disney Co., claiming its latest animated film, “Frozen 2,” violated the antitrust act by occupying up to 88 percent of domestic movie screens.

The movie topped the box office over the weekend again, drawing about 2.15 million viewers, according to data from the Korean Film Council. It has sold about 8.58 million tickets since its opening on Nov. 21.

On Sunday the Public Welfare Committee (PWC), a civic group, filed a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, requesting a probe into Walt Disney Company Korea’s suspected monopoly of the domestic movie market.

“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,” the group said in the complaint.

Walt Disney's "Frozen 2" dominates ticket booths at a Seoul theater on Nov. 24, 2019. (Yonhap)

Walt Disney’s “Frozen 2″ dominates ticket booths at a Seoul theater on Nov. 24, 2019. (Yonhap)

“This is a case of one business occupying more than 50 percent of the market and constitutes a violation of the antitrust law,” it added.

The group said Disney intended to garner huge profits in a short time, and in doing so, limited consumers’ choice and violated the law.

Last Monday, a group of filmmakers issued a statement calling for the government to take measures to prevent domination of screens by big-budget movies.

“The screen monopoly is not a one-off case,” the Cineastes Council for Anti-Monopoly said in the statement. “The government has to tackle the winner-take-all cinema market.”

In October, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it would consider capping the number of movie screens that can be allotted to a single film. Large multiplexes oppose such a regulation, which they claim would disrupt the functioning of the market.