Korean movie previews: And now for the coming distractions…

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.

Here's the movie I saw.

Here’s the movie I saw.

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About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

15 responses to “Korean movie previews: And now for the coming distractions…

  • Matrone Bell

    I’m going to see star trek on the 11th with my sister. I usually go for the junior mints myself which are probably 10 dollars now. They’ve started showing ads instead of previews here now as well. Its disappointing, the trailers used to be a highlight now its a bit of a let down. I’m impressed you could remember 30 commercials. My eyes start to gloss over after 2 or 3. 😀

  • Michelle Proulx

    I do love that when they translate posters into Korean, they just translate the words phonetically, instead of actually translating the words into Korean words.

  • misskzebra

    I still haven’t seen the new Star Trek movie!

    Here in the UK they usually start with about 15 minutes of product advertisements and then they have 15 minutes of “coming soon” film advertisements.

    There’s usually a lot of car and alcohol adverts, depending on the type of film you see. I can understand cars, because their adverts are usually very cinematic, but not exactly sure why cinema-goers are targeted for alcohol advertising.

    • David Stewart

      Wow, 30 minutes of ads and previews there seems like a lot.

      In Korea, there are three main kinds of alcohol: beer, soju (like vodka) and makkeoli, which is like rice wine. They used to advertise all three before movies, even those for younger audiences. It seemed a bit inappropriate, so I’m glad they don’t now.

  • Fossil754

    So what you’re hinting at is you want to see 마이 라띠마. I’ll go too!

  • Sharmishtha

    and I thought no one can beat cable operators in showing advertisement. I don’t watch television because of that! those advertisements well by the time they end I get confused about the movie!

  • ly

    Are you kidding me? I’d have to go late to miss that. I watch TV with the remote in my hand to fast forward through the commercials.

    • David Stewart

      Well, the good thing about Korean movie theaters is that it’s all assigned seating, so you can come late and still know exactly where you’re sitting. Actually, they don’t even let you in until 5-10 minutes before the movie starts.

  • Jilanne Hoffmann

    I could never sit through all that. You have great patience.

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