SEOUL, April 6 (Korea Bizwire) — A little over two years ago , South Korean movie theater chain CJ CGV introduced a graded pricing system that was criticized as a cover for raising ticket prices.
Under the pricing system, while the price of certain seating areas actually dropped by 1,000 won, the price of seats in the “premium zone” areas most favored by moviegoers went up by 1,000 won.
In the ensuing months, Lotte Cinema and Megabox, the other two major movie theater chains in South Korea, followed CJ CGV’s example by diversifying their pricing as well as raising costs of certain types of tickets.
Against this backdrop, the announcement by CJ CGV that it will implement a 1,000-won price hike on most tickets starting on April 11 has industry watchers expecting history to repeat itself.
Despite the industry precedent, both Lotte Cinema and Megabox have said they are still undecided on raising their own ticket prices.
Lotte Cinema said, “There has been no decision made as of now to increase ticket prices,” while Megabox said, “Internal discussions are ongoing, but there has been no final consensus reached on a price hike yet.” Neither movie theater chain outright denied the possibility of boosting admissions prices down the line.
Going to the movies has become costlier at a rapid pace in recent years. According to data from the Korean Film Council, it took 16 years for the yearly average ticket price of around 6,000 won in 2000 to go to 8,032 won in 2016. However, come April 11, most tickets at CJ CGV will cost 10,000 won minimum, a rise of about 2,000 won in only two years.
With 50 percent market share, CJ CGV is the largest movie theater chain in the country. A spokesperson cited increased operations costs as the impetus behind the ticket price hike.