Break out the glasses: Multiplexes to air Cup games in 3-D

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Break out the glasses: Multiplexes to air Cup games in 3-D

Multiplex theaters said yesterday they will broadcast South Korean matches of the upcoming World Cup tournament live on three-dimensional screens to attract fans who otherwise would be watching the games at home.

The football jamboree is usually bad news for the cinema industry, but this summer, theaters are turning it into a business opportunity amid the 3-D boom. Major chains such as CGV, Lotte Cinema and MegaBox will air South Korean matches live on about a hundred or so 3-D screens nationwide, having signed deals with SBS, the broadcaster that has the exclusive FIFA rights to air the World Cup in South Korea.

“People don’t come to theaters when there’s a Korean match. Whether movies are shown or not, it doesn’t really make any difference,” Park Hye-young, a marketing programmer at the CGV chain, said. “So we decided to show the matches on our screens that are best for watching sporting events.”

Live broadcasts will also be available at about 200 of the theaters’ 2-D screens across the country.

Theater screenings began with the 2002 tournament, when South Korea co-hosted the event with Japan and advanced to the semifinals. But this will mark the debut of 3-D and be the first time that every ticket will cost money. Previous screenings were mostly free.

“The audience will get a unique experience because of the surround sound and quality screening,” said Lee Jung-a with MegaBox’s marketing team.

South Korea goes up against Greece (June 12), Argentina (June 17) and Nigeria (June 23) in preliminary matches.

Meanwhile, two homegrown football movies are to be released during the tournament. “Dreams Come True,” a comedy directed by Kye Yoon-shik about South and North Korean soldiers during the 2002 World Cup event, will be released on Wednesday. “A Barefoot Dream,” Kim Tae-gyoon’s intriguing drama about a retired South Korean footballer and his youth football team in East Timor, will hit theaters on June 10.

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