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Lotte Cinema to raise ticket prices again from July

Logo of Lotte Cinema (Lotte Cinema)
Logo of Lotte Cinema (Lotte Cinema)

Bad news for moviegoers -- watching films will get more expensive at Lotte cinemas from July 1 onwards.

The ticket prices are going up by 1,000 won, six months after the multiplex chain raised fees in December, claiming the move was necessary to keep the business afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moviegoers who want to watch 2D films at Lotte cinemas will now have to pay 13,000 won for their tickets during weekdays and 14,000 won on weekends.

“We are sorry to announce the change in our pricing policy that increases the burden on our audiences,” Lotte Cinema said in a statement on Monday. “Movie theaters have already reached their limits. Considering the ripple effect that the movie theater industry’s collapse can cause to the film industry, this price change was an inevitable choice for our survival and to normalize the film industry.”

Lotte Cinema logged an operating loss of 160 billion won ($143.5 million) last year, and posted an operating deficit of more than 40 billion won in the first quarter this year.

Other theater chains have also hiked prices due to visitor numbers plummeting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CJ CGV, the top multiplex operator in Korea, also raised ticket prices by 1,000 won in April, calling it an “inevitable decision.” The hike came six months after it adjusted its price upward in October last year.

Come July, cinema tickets will cost the same at both CJ CGV and Lotte Cinema, which holds a market share of around 29 percent.

In November last year, another multiplex operator Megabox also raised its price by 1,000 won to 12,000 won during weekdays and 13,000 won on weekends. On Tuesday, it announced that it is mulling another price increase.

Sales at local theaters last year decreased by 73.7 percent. The situation did not improve much during the first quarter this year as the number of moviegoers dropped by 85.2 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

By Song Seung-hyun (