The latest figures from Korea’s largest cinema operators highlights an uneven recovery across Asia but a slow return to profitability in their home market. While CJ CGV saw a year-on-year decrease for the second quarter of 2022, Lotte’s cinema operation returned to profit for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Korean cinemas stayed open for long, but were since then one of the last to have all restrictions lifted. They have now had to put up ticket prices, while facing staff shortages, as a result of the pandemic.
Korea’s largest cinema operator CJ CGV had an operating loss of KRW 16.2 billion (USD $12 million) on a consolidated basis in Q2, marking a significant year-on-year compared to Q2 2021, when its profit was KRW 57.3 billion (USD $44 million). The company’s financials were hamstrung by operations in international markets such as China and Turkey.
Rival Lotte Culturework, the cinema operation of the Korea retail giant Lotte, also returned to profit for the first time since Q1 2020. Cinema sales were KRW 121.4 billion (USD $93 million) with an operating profit of KRW 10.5 billion (USD $8 million) in Q2 of 2022.