Sunday, October 01, 2006

Culture Shock: Movie Theater

As a former manager at a movie theater, I take a special interest in the "business." I've visited three theaters in Korea. I had a frustrating time the first night in my apartment looking for a theater. I saw a neon sign tall above the other buildings that read: [a bunch of Korean characters] Cinema. I was excited. I walked all the way there, and found a seedy motel. I guess the place was called the Cinema Motel. Boy was I mad.

There is a theater on the east side of town that I scoped out, but never paid for a movie. The other movie theater is located in the Home Plus complex. It is pretty impressive. The box office is beneath four HDTVs that showed the showtimes along with short previews of the movies. The concession stand sold, along with the theater staple of popcorn, squid jerky! They had a somewhat complicated system to get a ticket.

First, you must take a numbered slip from a machine. Then, when your number appears on the screen, you go to the box office and buy a ticket to an assigned seat. From there, it seemed pretty much like America. I was so frustrated waiting there for my number to be called. I could have bought a plane ticket in the time it took them to get their movie seats. I finally had my turn and got a ticket. I had some problems with the box office guy. The total game to 6,500 won (about $6.50) I handed him a W10,000 note and two W1,000 notes, thinking he could give me a W5,000 note and a W500 coin for change. No, that didn't work. So, I gave in, and let him do it his way.

The entire theater smelt new. There were many chemical smells from the floor polish, and the seats were nice and comfortable. Although they come close to the Forum 8's (my old theater in Columbia, MO) in comfort, Form 8 has the best theater seats I've ever experienced.

The movie I watched was Radio Star. It's about a has-been rock star and his manager and how he has a comeback as a radio dj. I understand four words. From what I could tell, the acting seemed to be okay, but I'm going to hold out for an American movie next time.

Judgment: While the lobby displays are amazing, I have to say, "I miss America."


  1. what was his problem regarding the change situation? would only take a 10won and not 12won? i think if i were in korea i would have already been in at least two any rate, it is impressive that you sat through an entire korean movie.


  2. I though some of the movies played with subtitles. But I could be wrong.

    Did you enjoy the "dried squid"?

  3. The only movies I've heard of with subtitles are American and Chinese movies with Korean subtitles.


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