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Saving money when you go to the cinema

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Published : 2010-03-30 18:07
Updated : 2010-03-30 18:07

In general, movies in Korea cost around 7,000-8,000 won per ticket, although at some theaters the price can be even higher. Nowadays, with so many people tightening their belts, is seems as though more and more people question whether two hours of enjoyment is really worth 10,000 won, soda included.
Correction: two hours of potential enjoyment.
In any case, here are some tips on how to watch movies in Seoul for cheap, if not free.
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Even for just the price of a cup of coffee you can see some of the newest releases in Seoul. At small theaters in your area and even larger chain megaplexes in Seoul (Megabox, Lotte Cinema, Cinnus, CGV) you can watch early-morning showings throughout the week, and on the weekend, for about 4,000 won. Also, late-night double- or even triple-features are available at some theaters, where you can watch multiple movies through until dawn for around 10,000 won.
Another option to note is that many credit cards, debit cards, phone plans and company membership cards can offer discounts on movie tickets as well -- some offer one free ticket a month, a discounted partner ticket when you go with a friend, or both. Some are discounts available at the movie theater and some are only available when reservations are made online. It should be noted, however, that some of these movie phone plans, cards, etc. are not available to expatriates because the theater websites themselves do not offer services for them, thus it is very important to thoroughly understand the stipulations of any contracts before signing up. If you can`t get one of these cards, remember that individual movie theaters offer their own membership cards. At CGV, for example, when you create a point card, 10 percent of your movie ticket price is recorded as points, which can later be used at CGV to buy movie tickets or refreshments.
Sometimes you`d like to see a movie, but you don`t need to see the most recent movie, or perhaps you`d like to see a foreign film. There are various locations where you can have access to such screenings and, best of all, they`re usually free. Free movies are shown at many local public libraries. Community and cultural centers around Seoul also offer free movie screenings. The Korea Foundation Cultural Center (located near City Hall) offers free movie screenings on a given topic every month. Screenings are at 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 3 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information visit http://www.kfcenter.or.kr. Free movie screenings are also offered on the first Friday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Yeoksam Global Village Center and occasionally at the Hannam/Itaewon Center as well. You can connect to these websites via the SGC website.
Also, various free cultural activity coupons for movies, plays and art exhibitions are available through the Seoul Metro website. Just by going to http://www.seoulmetro.co.kr/ and looking at the window in the lower left-hand corner you can see what cultural events are available. After registering, spaces are notified a few days later on the Seoul Metro website. Registration is not limited to Korean nationals, however the registration function is only available in Korean. For help registering, call the SGC at 1688-0120.
By Yu Myeong-soo, Christopher Dykas

(cdykas@sba.seoul.kr)

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