May 26, 2023 13:08
Koreans would go to the cinema more often if prices were cheaper, a straw poll suggests.
Ticket prices have risen to W15,000 on weekdays over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, and to over W20,000 on weekends and for IMAX, 4DX and other fancy projections. For many people that is too much in straitened times (US$1=W1,326).
Audience numbers have not recovered as much as expected since the end of lockdown, with 6.97 million tickets sold last month, which is only 52 percent of the level in 2019.
Pollster Tillion Pro polled 4,031 adults and found that 76.2 percent would go to theaters more if ticket prices came down again. Some 52.7 percent said they did not go to see the latest releases because the tickets were too expensive.
More than half or 53.4 percent said ticket prices are "fairly expensive" and 25.6 percent "very expensive."
Asked what an adequate price might be, 33.4 percent said less than W8,000, while 45.4 percent chose W8,000 to W10,000 and 15.5 percent chose W10,000 to W12,000.
Film critic Jung Ji-wook said, "In order to get more people into cinemas, ticket prices should be slashed below W10,000. Cinemas claim that the price hike was necessary to help the film industry recover from the pandemic hit, but it's doubtful that it really benefits other parties in the industry like producers and distributors."
Each Korean watched 4.4 movies in 2019, which was the highest in the world. But now, 27 percent of Koreans say they haven't visited a movie theater in more than a year, while only 13.7 percent say they went to the cinema in the past week and 19.1 percent in the past month.
The biggest reason they cited for staying out of theaters is high ticket prices, followed by a lack of good movies, use of streaming sites, and lingering fear of coronavirus infections.
Many people in their 20s and 30s who were the main moviegoers are heading instead to art galleries and museums.
But there is still hope. The survey showed that around 50 percent of respondents are willing to go to the theater if the movie is worth it.
It remains to be seen if this summer's releases are deemed worth it. Starting with "The Roundup: No Way Out," the third installment of the hit action franchise starring Ma Dong-seok, this summer also brings "Smugglers" by Ryoo Seung-wan and starring Kim Hye-soo, sci-fi movie "The Moon" by Kim Yong-hwa, "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1" starring Tom Cruise, and Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer."
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