The South Korean film world has seen a rise in the use of crowdfunding for mainstream films. Since the mid 1990’s, independent Korean filmmakers have been utilizing this type of fundraising for their work in the form of personal donations, not through the professional sources we use today.
More recent indie films like “26 Years,” “Another Family,” and “Spirits’ Homecoming,” all used crowdfunding to raise a partial amount of their respective budget goals; though not all successful in their attempts. Because these movies were indie films, the donations made through the crowdfunding did not give investors any return even when there was marginal success.
This past year, use of crowdfunding has spread to more mainstream films; “The Last Princess,” “The Hunt,” and “Operation Chromite” all relied on crowdfunding of some kind. “Operation Chromite” was the only film of the three to have any notable success by making 6.9 million in ticket sales which in turn gave the backers a 5.6% return rate for their investments.
The utilization for crowdfunding more mainstream films will still be a longer process as there is a hesitation in mainstream filmmakers, and donators as well. The film creators can only provide potential backers with the bare minimum information on the film due to privacy constraints and fear of information being leaked. Backers do not have much to go on in terms of deciding if a movie will be successful, or ultimately result in a personal loss.
This is indeed a risky marketing tool for both filmmakers and funders, but proves to be a great investment when there is box office success as seen in “Operation Chromite” and can push other film makers to use this type of fundraising in the future.