As the pandemic has lasted for an unexpectedly long period of time, total sales of the domestic cinema industry last year were a paltry 510 billion won ($450 million), a whopping 73.3 percent decrease from the year before, according to a Korean Film Council report. Audiences shrank to the level seen back in 1999, right after the Asian financial crisis.
The unbelievable loss of profits and filmgoers has led Korea's multiplex chain operators to look for other ways to survive the coronavirus pandemic. With the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday and Valentine's Day, the industry is gearing up to attract family audiences and couples to fill the seats with new releases and niche content such as games, re-releases and trot, a style of popular music here.
"AzitX," a service launched by CGV last month, rents out 34 theaters nationwide to patrons who wish to immerse themselves in their favorite console games on the big screen with richer sounds and comfortable seats. Users need to bring their own game consoles and can play their games in a private setting with up to nine guests.
The company also held a live stand-up comedy show in its theater for the first time, Feb. 5. At CGV Sinchon Artreon, rookie and veteran comedians brought on the laughter in collaboration with Showgman Entertainment, which has presented variety shows consisting of songs, dances, sketches and magic performances since 2015.
Another multiplex chain Lotte Cinema re-released black-and-white versions of two popular films ― "Parasite: Black and White Version" (2020) and "Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet" (2016) ― on one of the world's largest 14-meter-wide LED screens at its Colorium theater in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.
The LED screen, compared to traditional projected screens, can present a wider range of colors and shades. Filmgoers can witness the contrast and balance of the two films' black-and-white mise-en-scenes more clearly instead of straining their eyes to figure out what lies beyond the darkened screen.
For Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning movie, the black-and-white re-mastered version, executed by the filmmaker himself and director of photography Hong Kyung-pyo, proves to be a richer, more striking visual addition to the narrative centering on the ever-present class struggle. Audiences can better notice the details of facial expressions embodying a range of human emotions from jealousy, greed and contempt as well as the ominous presence of the film's environment that engulfs the characters.
Megabox is targeting legions of trot enthusiasts, mostly in their 40s to 60s, who have been deprived of chances to attend their favorite singers' concerts in person amid the pandemic.
The concert film "Song Ga-in THE DRAMA" starring the trot sensation is set to be screened exclusively in its theaters from Feb. 11. Song rose to prominence in 2019 when she was crowned the winner in the first season of cable network TV Chosun's smash-hit survival show, "Miss Trot."
Her army of fans can once again enjoy the immersive concert-like surroundings and previously undisclosed footage, including behind-the-scenes clips from the singer's first solo concert in 2019 and interviews detailing her candid thoughts about her rise to stardom.
Meanwhile, with the eased social distancing rules in theaters and other performance venues, groups of two can now sit together, leaving two seats empty between them and other parties.
The video games thing sounds cool, and I like how they limit it to 9 people.
source: The Korea Times