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11 February 2021

The cinemas now renting out giant screens to gamers

Now showing at your local cinema. You and your fellow gamers playing on the giant screen.

This is now a reality in South Korea where the country's largest cinema chain, CGV has launched an initiative to make use of movie auditoriums left empty by the pandemic.

With many cinemas across the country closed due to coronavirus restrictions meaning that they can only open with 50% capacity, and far fewer movies being released to tempt cinemagoers, CGV came up with the idea of renting out its venues to gamers to bring in a new revenue stream, reports the BBC.

Before 6pm up to four people can hire a screen for two hours for around $90 (£65). This then rises to $135 in the evening. Users have to bring their consoles, games and controllers with them.

And although that fails to recover lost revenue, it does at least bring in some income.

The idea was the brainchild of CGV employee Seung Woo Han after he realised that films and video games share many similarities.

"When thinking about how to make use of empty cinema spaces, I noticed that games nowadays boast excellent graphics and well structured stories just like movies," he says. "Both have a storytelling aspect to them, so if someone can enjoy watching a film in the cinema, I thought they would also enjoy playing computer games in one."

Since the new service launched at the start of this year, auditoriums have been booked more than 130 times so far. While the majority of customers are said to be men in their 30s or 40s, couples and families have also taken part.

Korea's CGV is not the only cinema chain now letting gamers book cinema screens, as US group Malco Theatres has been doing the same since November.

Memphis-based Malco allows up to 20 people to hire a screen at its 36 cinemas across Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

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