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[HanCinema's News] Theater Chains Prepare Aggressive Plan to Revive Domestic Box Office


After numerous delays the South Korean film industry appears to have firmly decided that June will be the month that they start making a serious effort to get people back into theaters. With the release of "Intruder", as well as the more artistically concepted "A French Woman", new South Korean films with major backing are finally appearing in theaters. Moreover, every week will feature new releases, with "Innocence", "Me and Me", and "#ALIVE" each coming out in turn.

The total number of theatrical admissions for May was 1.52 million. This is a significant improvement over the previous month's 970,000 admissions, and may have convinced distributors that the main obstacle to box office success is now less fear over COVID-19 and more a lack of new widely advertised movies.

Numerous reforms are already in place to curb admissions at movie theaters. Mandatory sign-in sheets are required at even small theaters for the sake of tracing possible infections. In addition, half of the seats at major chains must remain empty in order to act as a form of social distancing. Theatergoers are also required to wear masks before being allowed admission.

To compensate for these inconveniences, film companies have invested a great deal of money in coupons and incentive programs. Film prices in general have also been lowered to a standard price of ten dollars, with some variation regarding the type of movie and theater. Persons related to the companies have also stated that the efficacy of such problems is under close review.

The situation for film companies is not quite so dire as the past few months has often made it seem. Even as box office revenues are down, secondary revenue from online downloads of existing films are up. But such a situation can only persist for so long. Much is now riding on the aesthetic quality of the films which were ultimately selected to re-open the market this month, and it is unknown how audiences may respond to them.

Written by William Schwartz

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