[Blog] Things to Do in Korea – Movie Theaters (영화관)

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Going to a 영화관 in Korea is not unlike going to a movie theater in another country, but the experience of going to a Korean movie theater is what makes it unique. Most of the HUGE multiplexes like CGV, Lotte Cinema, Megabox, Primus, and Cinus have state-of-the-art facilities with wide-screens and the ability to show 3-D and 4-D movies. There are even a few Lotte and CGV theaters in Seoul and Busan that offer 외국어 자막(foreign subtitling)! However, if you’re looking for a more intimate 영화관 setting, the smaller and independently owned 영화관들 have a little bit of a “retro” feel since they don’t have all the hype and bright lights of a gigantic multiplex.

How to purchase tickets

On the weekdays, you’ll be able to purchase 영화 표(movie tickets) by standing in line at the ticket booth (if the theater has one) or by using one of the automatic ticket machines. And you can also use the online 예약(reservation) system or a cell phone application to reserve your tickets and seats, which is the most convenient way to make sure you and your friends will have tickets!

It’s HIGHLY recommended to purchase your tickets in advance using the theater’s online reservation system if you’re going to see a movie on 금요일(Friday) or 토요일(Saturday) nights or during holidays. Crowds are HUGE during these times and, more than likely, your show will be sold out if you wait until the last minute to get tickets. To use the online reservation system, visit one of the websites listed at the bottom of this post to purchase your tickets at the theater of your choosing. You can also use one of the automated ticket machines, but don’t bank on there being ANY open seats! If you’re going to a smaller theater, you may be able to get away with purchasing some tickets from a ticket booth or the ticket machines on the day of the showing.

One thing you might want to note to yourself is that, for foreigners, there might be some difficulties when you use the online reservation system or a mobile application because sometimes they might ask for your 주민등록번호 (resident registration number). In that case, you can ask your Korean friend to let you use his/her resident registration number or you can always go to the theater and buy your ticket there.

Ticket prices

Ticket 가격(prices) in Korea are universally set, so they’re pretty comparable to any other country’s ticket price. Here’s an outline of some basic movie prices:

* Regular movies
성인(Adult): 8,000원 (on Fri, Sat, Sun, and public holidays: 9,000원)
청소년(Teen): 7,000원
아동(Child): 6,000원
조조(Matinée) (Morning movies): 5,000원
심야(Late night) movies (12am-5am): 6,000원

*3D movies
Adult: 13,000원
Teen: 10,000원
Matinée (Morning movies): 8,000원

Cinema Websites (and other helpful stuff!)

If you choose to book your tickets through these websites, you can choose almost any theater throughout Korea:
ticket.movie.naver.com
www.maxmovie.com
www.ticketlink.co.kr
movie.interpark.com

You can use the following websites to book tickets for movies playing at that specific cinema:
www.cgv.co.kr
www.megabox.co.kr
www.lottecinema.co.kr
www.cinus.co.kr
www.primuscinema.com

If you want to download cell phone applications to reserve tickets, search “CGV 영화예매”, “맥스무비 영화예매”, “티켓플래닛”, “롯데시네마 예매 시스템”, or any other theater in the marketplace or app store. As for “티켓플래닛”, you can get discounts up to 2,500원 per ticket, but only if you pay the 550원 monthly surtax.

You can also dial “1330” from any phone (if you’re using a cell phone, dial your area code first!) to find out show times, locations of movies, and instructions on how to get to the cinema all in English. The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) hot-line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is a REALLY useful service for foreigners! If you’re not sure about your area code, visit this website to find it:
http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/GK/GK_EN_2_7_1.jsp

If you have any questions about going to see movies in Korea, please give us a shout on our Facebook page (facebook.com/talktomeinkorean), Twitter (twitter.com/ttmik), or leave a comment in the comment section below and we’ll do our best to answer!

Written by: Stephanie Morris
Photos by: Hyunwoo Sun


  • Sasan

    I love to see a Korean drama movie in Korean movie theaters with my girlfriend !

  • 자흐러 ^^

    아이고 ~ 진짜 멋져요 !!

  • Nathalia

    I would love to go some day :)

    • Fouzi

      me too ^^

  • Willy Salemink

    Usually if you are a foreigner alone or a small group of foreigners you just go to the cinema and look around with a big questionmark on your face and there is always a Korean to help you. The age-group that frequents the cinema has some knowledge of English and with a lot of good will, pointing out and smiling, you will be in your seat watching the movie before you know it.

  • Virginia

    I can’t wait to go to Korea!!!!! The movies look SO much cooler!!!!

  • Christopher

    The 3D movies in Korea costs as much as the regular movies does here in Sweden. And if you want to see a 3D movie you will have to pay about 20000 won :)

  • Miguel

    It would be interesting to mention that in some movie theaters there are special seats for couples, with no armrests bothering…
    I really love watching movies in Korea. I even enjoy the advertisements before the actual movie because they are spectacular and frequently very funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Alyx/648721583 Jennifer Alyx

    Are there better snacks at the Korean movie theaters, or is it only the standard fair of popcorn and soda/cola?

    • Miguel

      Of course there are! They have many other foods that for westerners are strange or, at least, exotic. I remember eating snacks made of sweet potato, bean ice-cream (too sweet!), flattened and dried squid,…

  • http://www.native-translator.ch/ Korean übersetzer

    Wonderful blog – love it!

  • http://seoultrip.net/ Chris Masterson

    I love that theaters open so early here. Sometimes I just want to get up and go see a movie before starting my day! As long as noone buys the smelly squid to eat in the theater, I am good.

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