Korea’s “Silver Cinema” has found a niche catering to older people who feel alienated by automation and technological advancements. The Silver Cinema, located in Seoul, South Korea, offers screenings of domestic and foreign classic films that are not shown in larger cinemas. The theater has become a favorite spot for older individuals, with an average of 500 daily visitors, most of whom are aged 60 or older. The cinema’s appeal lies in its affordable ticket prices, face-to-face ticketing service, large subtitles, and a welcoming atmosphere for seniors. However, the theater has faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and struggles to make a profit due to low ticket prices and reduced government support.
The Silver Cinema, which originated from the Hollywood Theater in 1969, was revamped in 2009 by a company called “theater that sells memories.” The theater focuses on screening nostalgic films and offers discounted admission fees for seniors aged 55 and older. The friendly and personal service, with ticket office staff instead of unmanned kiosks, appeals to older customers who may find modern automation difficult to navigate. The subtitles in the cinema are also 1.5 times larger than regular theaters, making it easier for seniors with visual impairments to enjoy the films.
Despite the challenges faced by the Silver Cinema, including temporary closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater has managed to retain a loyal customer base. The cinema’s unique features, such as face-to-face ticketing, large subtitles, and a coffee shop selling traditional snacks, have endeared it to the older population. Many regular customers appreciate the comfortable and inclusive atmosphere of the theater, where they can enjoy films without feeling out of place among younger audiences. However, the theater’s financial sustainability remains uncertain due to low ticket prices and reduced government support, posing a potential threat to its continued operation.