One of my favourite parts of going to the movie used to be the previews at the beginning. It was like getting to watch a bunch of free movies, almost harkening back to the days when your nickel got you a newsreel and a cartoon before the main feature. Honestly, I haven’t been to a movie in North America for a while (although I hear popcorn has to be purchased in gold now) but in Korea, the previews before a movies are a whole different thing.
Specifically, they’re advertisements. And there are a ton of them. It’s interesting to see trends change over time. There are always cellphone commercials, since this is Korea, but there used to be an insane amount of alcohol commercials. This last weekend, when I went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness, there wasn’t a single one, which is good, I suppose. Here is a list of the commercials I did see before the movie though.
1. hanium.or.kr, which is an IT knowledge sharing project in Korea
2. Hanbit optometry
3. a spot about the rules of the theater (cellphones on vibrate, be courteous, etc), performed by a Korean skit comedy group, similar to Saturday Night Live
4. koreatree.or.kr (나라사랑큰나무), which, according to their website, is a campaign to promote patriotism, freedom, and hope in the future in Korea
5. Saemaeul financial association
6. a trailer for the Korean movie 마이 라띠마 (Mai Ratima), which is about a love affair between a lower-class Korean man and a Thai mail-order bride.
7. Nivea lotion
8. U+ LTE cellphone service (this is LG’s cellphone company. There are three cellphone carriers and they all advertised before this movie)
9. Nivea again
10. Maxim coffee, specifically what I call “coffee sticks”. It’s a thin tube with instant coffee, sugar, and creamer in it and makes about 150ml of coffee.
11. Hyundai Motor Group
12. Restylane, which apparently is a wrinkle remover.
13. Korean Air, specifically about flights to the Maldives, which I admit, looks pretty good
14. a Megabox theater announcement about fire exits, illustrated by the animated character, Pucca.
15. Hyundai again, although this one might have been for Hyundai real estate. I can’t remember.
16. Home CC, which is the interior decorating branch of a paint and chemical company, KCC. They own the basketball team in the city where I live.
17. LG: specifically for pocket-sized photo printers that connect to your cellphone.
18. a GPS system called 다본다 (Dabonda: “sees everything”)
19. a trailer for a movie called 은밀하게 위대하게 (Eunmilhage, Widaehage: “Secretly, Greatly”), which is an action/comedy about a North Korean sleeper agent in Seoul.
20. Samsung Galaxy S4 phone
21. Megabox commercial again (Megabox is the name of the theater I went to)
22. Chevy (ever since GM bought Daewoo a couple years ago, there are suddenly a lot of Chevy cars around. Besides that, it’s 95% Hyundai and Kia.)
23. a PSA against illegal sports gambling
24. Samsung Galaxy S4 again
25. Olleh Warp cellphone service (the cellphone service brand of KT)
26. Olleh Warp again
27. a trailer for the movie White House Down
28. U+ LTE cellphone service again, this time toting their unlimited voice plan
29. Megabox again
30. SK Telecom LTE unlimited
So, there you have it. 30 commercial in total, with only 3 movie trailers and only one of those an English movie. But then we got to see Star Trek, so it was worth it.
This is the case at every single movie you go to here, although I guess after 8 years, I’ve gotten used to it. And honestly, it beats having to pay $20 for a bucket of popcorn.