The recently premiered Korean thriller "Missing" has gained publicity for its star cast including veteran actor Moon Sung-keun.
A surprise to many, the producers of the film only spent 1.8 billion won, or 1.3 million US dollars, on the entire production, including promotional expenses.
And this latest drama called "More Than Blue", starring leading actor Kwon Sang-woo, cost just under 2-million dollars.
That is far less than last year's average per-movie production cost of 3.5 million dollars.
Moviemakers this year have learned their lesson from 2008 when declining box office sales resulted in only 15 out of more than 100 Korean-made films breaking even.
[Interview : ] "Producers, actors and all the crews on the sets are sacrificing their salaries to cut as much as 30 percent from the total production cost."
A noticeable change is that plots and acting have been featured more prominently than expensive visual effects.
While some praise the industry for shifting its focus from making blockbusters to films that are more artistic, others question whether the current trend will be impactful enough to grow the domestic filmmaking industry.
[Interview : ] "Despite the contraction in the Korean film market, the industry should find new ways to produce a wide range of films in various genres and scales."
The poor performance of Korean films in the past several years has alarmed investors.
They say their purse strings will remain shut until at least 30 percent of Korean movies reach the break-even point.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.