Keeping the Joongang Cinema in Pictures

Joongang Cinema

Seoul is a very dynamic city and the built environment develops very fast. The changes can be through a new shop or restaurant, a new facade or even completely new buildings. Old buildings get torn down and replaced by new ones in a blink of an eye, at least it feels like that. With this post, I want to capture one place and share with you: The Joongang Cinema (중앙시네마) is a movie theater in Myeongdong, downtown Seoul.

Before you look at my pictures of the current situation, you may want to see how the Joongang Cinema looked like when it was still open.

Joongang Cinema

You can see the cinema in the center of the picture. It’s surrounded by higher buildings  and construction places. It’s very close to the Myeongdong cathedral and right in front of the cinema you’ve a BRT station. That makes it to a location with a good accessibility.

Joongang Cinema

That’s the facade of the building. It’s not very spectacular in comparison to other cinemas in Korea.

Joongang Cinema

The sidewalk along the cinema. Someone uses the side-entrance to park his garbage trolley.

Joongang Cinema

How many movie posters have been displayed there? And what was the last one? This reminds me of a cinema in my hometown. It closed down several years ago but they didn’t remove the posters.

Joongang Cinema

Someone wrote “I miss you, Joongang Cinema” with white chalk on the wall.

Joongang Cinema

Here you can see the main entrance. The view into the building is blocked. There are no traces of vandalism or anything else. Scribbling are message to the cinema.

Joongang Cinema

That’s the former ticket booth and now it contains a farewell message to the visitors. In short, it says that after 70 years of showing movies, animations and many other professional movies, the cinema closed on May 31st, 2010. The theater apologies and says thanks to all customers at the same time. “This are the credits at the end of the movie but hopefully, everybody’s life may develop well like in a movie.”

Joongang Cinema

Here’s another picture, showing the main entrance and the ticket booth.

Joongang Cinema

This metal construction probably displayed large billboards about upcoming movies. I don’t know about the future plans for the cinema and how long it’s still going to stay like this. Probably, it will be torn down and replaced by a new, high skyscraper.

 

Conclusion

This post has no specific background and it don’t have any personal connection to that place. It’s just right in downtown Seoul and I use to pass by there because there’s a delicious Ddeokbokki restaurant right next to it. I missed a lot of opportunities to take pictures of buildings in Seoul. Too often suddenly a construction site pops up and you wonder, what building was there before. Even though you pass by there every day, you can’t recall it. The intention of this post is to raise awareness for your surrounding and the urban landscape you live in.

About This Author

<p>Co-Author of Kojects. Interested in Sustainable Transportation, Urbanism and Korea.</p>

5 Comments

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  • Wow…quite a site. It’s sad to see old buildings replaced with new. Even in my little town, there was a theatre that was very old but held lots of memories for many older people and somewhat older people…. because it did close for a while. Then…it was amazing, plans to restore it, donations, lots of hard work and now it is a beautiful landmark. There was a huge gap between the last movie (I saw as a teenager) “Risky Business” (Tom Cruise) and the next event I attended with my husband some 30 or so years later…..a live performance: Bill Cosby (he was very funny.)
    I will share a link. http://www.cascadetheatre.org/ I love your blog, I enjoy reading about Seoul. Thank you.

    Chris (mydogknowsKorean) 5 years ago Reply


    • Thanks for sharing this story! I would love to see something like this happen with the Joongang Cinema but I think esp. in Korea it isn’t easy to compete with the big cinemas like Lotte and CGV. Probably that was also the reason why the cinema closed in the first place. That’s something you can find anywhere in the world but in large cities the competition is tougher than in small towns.

      In my home town in Germany we had also a small cinema and it closed down almost ten years ago. Still the old posters of the last screening are hanging in their displays and every time when I passed there by, some memories came back :)

      Nikola 5 years ago Reply


      • I will admit those theaters with the big comfy seats that offer couples an almost private viewing pleasure(I see them in dramas) I am sure I would die…if I knew the cost of a ticket in one of those nice places. Even in my small town we have three multiplex houses. They are somewhat affordable and sometimes so empty it’s like a private theatre….but they have that definite “movie chain” feel about them. Add pop Corn and a soda and a movie date with hubby could be 40.00 US dollars. How does that compare to Seoul movie prices?

        Chris (mydogknowsKorean) 5 years ago Reply


  • The price range for cinema tickets is between 5,000 KRW (4.4 USD) to 13,000 KRW (11.6 USD) per person. I’m not a big fan of popcorn during a movie but I think a set with a large soft drink and popcorn doesn’t cost more than 10,000 KRW (8.9 USD) for two person. So you have to pay around 30 USD for a movie date in Seoul :)
    I think I saw such couple seats in a Korean movie theater but I don’t know if such seats are more expensive than normal ones (definitely hard to get!).

    Nikola 5 years ago Reply


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