Movie theaters now go for the ‘gold’One example of Korea’s technological advancement can be seen in the ubiquitous multiplex movie theaters that never cease to evolve here.
Just opposite a red-light strip where prostitutes have hung banners proclaiming “We’re Not Confined” is the newly opened CGV Yongsan, part of one of the country’s fast-expanding theater chains.
It is located at a grand junction where the station for the new Korean bullet train, or KTX, a shopping mall, restaurant rows and the multiplex theater meet.
Passing through endless “space,” there is an outdoor plaza equipped with an amphitheater, which is surrounded by gleaming glass panels, silver beams and lighting. With an artificial Milky Way glistening overhead and computerized voice announcements echoing everywhere, the entire complex looks like a mother ship out of the Hollywood science-fiction action movie “The Fifth Element.” A CGV employee explains that “space” is the theme of this place.
Yet, with an ever-growing population of cinephiles in Korea, moviegoers, who have to struggle to enjoy a film in peace, can be annoyed even in the fanciest environment.
As a result, starting last year, three CGV theaters, located in Bundang, Seongsan-dong and Yongsan, began to offer specialized upscale facilities.
Called “Gold Class,” this theater within a movie theater caters to a limited number of moviegoers, up to 30 for each screening. The most recently opened such theater, “Gold Class” Yongsan, located in “Space 9” on the sixth floor of the Yongsan CGV, allows moviegoers to relax in a private lounge and bar before being led into the theater by a guide.
The use of the lounge, which is equipped with Internet service, and a complimentary soft drink are included in the ticket price. A ticket costs 25,000 won ($24) on weekdays and 30,000 won on weekends.
The theater is modeled on the first class section of an airplane. So, instead of uncomfortable economy class seats with little legroom, the seats in Gold Class are very large, comfortable and electronically adjustable, providing plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy a simple snack.
People are encouraged to eat and drink while viewing the movie, as wine, beer, juice and snacks such as hog dogs, french fries and dim sum can be ordered from the lounge menu.
Who has been using this new facility? “There’s been quite a lot of demand recently,” said Shin Dong-mi, a CGV Yongsan staff member. “There are couples planning their (marriage) proposals here, and various companies, especially in film and promotion, organize screenings and parties afterward.”
The entire theater can also be rented out for a few hours, including one movie screening, for 750,000 won on weekdays and 900,000 won on weekends. Upon request, additional catering services can be arranged.
by Ines Cho
For additional information about Gold Class Yongsan, call 02-2012-2999, for Gold Class Sangam call 02-304-6222, and for Gold Class Ori call 031-728-5260.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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