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Korean Cinema Chain Eyes U.S. Audiences

2006/02/08 Source

CGV, the biggest multiplex cinema chain in Korea, plans a serious entry into the U.S. market, starting this October, according to its spokesman. The rapidly expanding chain intends to open three movie theatres with 650 seats at the thriving shopping mall Madang Mall in Los Angeles' Korea Town. The construction will begin this fall and the theater will officially open in next June. CGV's CEO Dong-ho Park has put great emphasis on such international cooperation.

Korean theater companies have been investing elsewhere in the world as well. At present, China is viewed as the most attractive market place for Korean cinemas, especially since Korean film is so immensely popular in China today. Megabox is planning to open eight theaters in just one region of Beijing. They will continue to employ their familiar name "Megabox".

In Addition, Korea's movie distributors MK Pictures signed a contract last Dec. 27 with the Chinese film companies, including Eastern Dragon Film Incorporation, to establish a joint venture for multiplex cinemas in China. MK Pictures has started work on a multiplex theatre that will contain nine theaters with 900 seats in Chongqing. The name of the joint venture has yet to be announced. MK Pictures is also looking for a prime location for their multiplex which will open next November in the industrial powerhouse Shenzhen.

Lotte Cinema is also rumored to be considering entering the Chinese market.

CGV is also planning to open theaters in Shanghai, but they will be joint ventures with Chinese companies, unlike the theatre planned for Los Angeles.

This new Korean Wave of Korean theater companies setting up shop abroad, is in part attributable to over-saturated markets in Korea. As one person from CGV remarked, "Expanding the international market is an inevitable development for cinema chains and distribution firms, as well as the Korean film industry. The major film companies not only need to distribute movies abroad but need theatres as well".

By Jun Hui-kon

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