Amid the protracted COVID-19 crisis, another historic movie theatre in Seoul has reportedly opted to close its doors, presumably to avoid competition from large cinema chains. After 42 years in business, the Seoul Cinema, established in 1979 by Hapdong Flim Co., said that it would close its doors at the end of August.
Commenting on the decision, Hapdong Film expressed that the Seoul Cinema has been a treasured cultural center of Jongno-gu for almost 40 years, however, will now close forever on August 31, 2021. The operator also stated that it is planning to make adjustments but provided no details on how the facility will be used in the future.
For the unaware, Hapdong Film was a film production business founded in 1964. In 1978, the firm acquired Segi Theater in Jongno-gu, Seoul, and renamed it ‘The Seoul Cinema’ before reopening the theatre in 1979.
The Seoul Cinema, which began with just one screen, quickly expanded to become Korea's first multiplex in 1989, with more than ten screens at present.
The primary cause for The Seoul Cinema's permanent closure is likely to be the tremendous financial difficulties the firm has been experiencing since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world last year.
It is worth noting that Seoul Cinema faced financial issues even before the pandemic, losing market share to conglomerates like Lotte Cinema and CGV, which began expanding in the 2000s.
It has been focusing on screening art and independent films in recent years, along with hosting small film festivals such as the Seoul Eco Film Festival and the Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival to remain active in the market. However, this did not help improve the financial situation.
Similarly, Dansungsa, a privately owned movie theatre founded in 1907, had to close its doors in 2006 due to the dominance of multiplexes.