On April 11th, CJ CGV, Korea`s largest theater, raised its price by 1,000 won. Lotte Cinema and Megabox also raised their prices one by one. The price of regular 2D movies, which was 9,000 won per week, will be 10,000 won, and the weekend ticket price will increase from 10,000 won to 12,000 won. A relatively expensive IMAX or 4D ticket cost between 14,000 and 20,000 won. This is the third price increase since 2014. The theaters argue that the price increase will have a positive effect on the film industry as it is currently in a difficult situation due to increased production costs. They also feel that it is natural for prices to rise as prices and labor costs increase. The rise in ticket prices for the three theaters, which account for 97 percent of the domestic market, is a huge change to viewers and filmmakers.
At a press conference on July 13th, 11 groups including the Korea Consumer Group Association said, "The decision to raise the price is to mock consumers." In addition, on April 23rd, the People`s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy reported to the Fair Trade Commission on April 23rd, that the three multiplex theaters had raised prices simultaneously. And they argued that it was illegal. On the contrary, there are consumers who support it. They claim that since movie prices are made by the collect groups of film distributors, movie theaters and film development, fees are higher as the products continue to develop. They also claim that it is a matter of how much value the film has. Given that only 15 percent of domestic films achieved quarterly profits and the average production cost is around 4.5 billion won, the domestic film industry says it needs more development and investment.
The average number of movies watched per Korean person is 4.2 per year. It can be said that watching movies has become a national pastime. In response, consumers say they are burdened by the rising ticket prices. I asked some of my college classmates for their opinions about the movie price increases and here is what they had to say. Airplane Service major Yoon Jung-hyun said, "The 1000 won increase for a movie ticket feels very burdensome. I think I'll spend more time downloading movies and viewing from the internet instead of going to the movies". Chinese major Jang Seong-su said, "Many college students in their 20's watch movies, but if the price of the movies continues to rise, the number of people who watch movies will decrease".
The price is now in the area of 10,000 won per ticket for watching movies during the week. The environment and movie watching experience is not worth the investment. Last year, 11 viewers were injured at a movie theater when a structure on the ceiling fell. As the price of tickets has risen and consumers feel burdened, theaters should make sure that the price increase benefits go back to the customers. Culture and leisure are now integral parts of our society. Therefore, both companies and individuals should be looked at with interest.