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Movie theaters rent screens to gamers, hold stand-up comedy shows to boost income
Updated: 2021-02-22 14:59:32 KST
These two people have a 200-seat movie theater all to themselves just to play video games.
They're mesmerized by the vivid graphics displayed on a full-size cinema screen.
Loud explosions, gun shots, and other sounds pierce through the speakers, giving players an immersive gaming experience.

"It met my expectations to some extent, so I'm glad to have had this experience. Usually, there aren't many opportunities to bluntly express emotions. At home, when you scream out of excitement, noise complaints will be reported. But here, you can have fun just like when you were young."

Starting this year, South Korea's cinema chains, such as CGV and Megabox, have started renting out movie screens in a bid to improve their cash flow.

"Since February 15th, under a pilot project, we have started renting out screens to gamers at five movie theaters. We hope to expand it to other branches after review."

This comes as the local cinema industry has suffered heavily during the pandemic.
Data from the Korean Film Council shows that the industry's revenue in 2020 was down a whopping 73 percent from a year earlier.
The number of moviegoers also dropped significantly last year from 220-million visitors to less than 60 million.

"To get its business running, CGV is not only letting gamers plug consoles into screens, but also allowing people to enjoy stand-up comedy shows."

It's another way to bring people back to the movies, as well as a chance for comedians, driven offstage by the pandemic, to perform.

"It's great to have a place where we can perform and interact with the audience. I hope this becomes a new comedy venue."

The cinema industry is also launching a wide range of new services, screening music concerts, overseas drama series, and live esports matches.
Min Suk-hyen, Arirang News.
Reporter : shmin@arirang.com