[Writer's Choice] Korea's Film History
Jun Ko, April 24, 2019, 5:46 p.m.
Did you know that Korea built their first movie theater back in 1903? The first movie theater Korea built was the Dongdaemun Motion Picture Studio, however, cinema didn't really kick off until the opening of Dansungsa Theater in November 1907.
However, the only films shown were from Europe and the United States as Korea didn't make their own films. The films first arrived in Korea in 1897,
Did you know that Korea built their first movie theater back in 1903? Their first movie theater Korea built was the Dongdaemun Motion Picture Studio, but it was said that the cinema didn't kick off until the opening of the Dansungsa Theater in November 1907.
Before Korea started making their own films, a lot of the films shown in Korea were films from Europe and the United States. It was recorded that the first
Korea's first movie theater, Dongdaemun Motion Picture Studio, was opened in 1903. The Dansung-saTheater opened in Seoul in November 1907. Before the creation of a domestic film industry, filmsimported from Europe and the United States were shown in Korean theaters.
Dansungsa, established in 1907, was the first movie theatre in Korea. It is located in Jongno 3-ga, Seoul. Korea Loyal Flight became the theatre's first ever premiere in 1919. Chunsa Na Woon-gyu's Korean folk movie, Arirang, followed, premiering in the theatre in 1926. Chunhyanjeon became the theatre's third premier in 1935.
In 1963, the South Korean government declared October 27, the same day when Korea Loyal Flight premiered at Dansungsa, to be the Korea Film Day. The declaration celebrated both the beginning of Korean film industry as well as the fact that Dansungsa, along with Woomikwan and Chosum Movie Theatre, the only theatre showing Korean movies during the colonial rule.
It has reopened in 2005 as a modern multiplex with seven screens.
The 101-year-old Dansungsa, one of the first Korean movie theaters, was declared bankrupt Tuesday. The Seoul theater, following years of dwindling profit and amassing debt, was unable to pay back 1.5 billion won, Woori Bank announced Wednesday.
Movie screenings however will continue under the theater brand Cinus, for Dansungsa will only give up ownership of the building in Jongno. Also, considering its historical significance, the Dansungsa billboard will remain intact. Founded in 1907, Dansungsa embodies the century-old history of Korean cinema. It renovated its one-screen theater into a 10-screen multiplex between 2001 and 2005 and became part of the Cinus chain this year in April.
But the reconstruction was costly, and Dansungsa fell behind the competition against other large multiplex theaters such as CGV, Megabox and Lotte Cinema. Last year it reportedly lost 11 billion won and income was down to a meager 4.4 billion won, nearly half of the 7.8 billion in sales for 2006.
Dansungsa marked many significant events in local cinema. It screened the first Korean-produced film ``Fight for Justice'' in 1919 as well as the earliest local sound movie ``The Story of Chun-hyang'' in 1935. The franchise is also noted for producing the first ``purely Korean'' project, ``The Story of Jang-hwa and Hong-ryeon'' (directed by Park Jung-hyun, 1924), the first Korean-made, Korean-funded work during the Japanese colonial period (1910-45).