Movie theaters in Korea raise problems for many of us, foreigners. You want to go to the movies in Korea but you don’t speak Korean… This could be a problem you might have, and we will solve it for you. Keep reading to find where you can watch Korean movies with English subtitles.
The South Korean movie industry is very developed. While they don’t release a new movie every three days like Taiwan used to do in the 1960s, they do have a large number of productions. The problem is, this is Korea and everything is in Korean. If you want to learn where you can watch Korean movies with English subtitles, this article is for you.
Did you know? The biggest movie theaters in Korea are the CGV and Lotte chains along with Megabox. The price of tickets is usually 8.000 KRW for adults and 6.500 KRW for students. However, if you get there early in the forming for the first screening you will pay only 4.000 KRW no matter your age.
There are, however, smaller movie theaters. These are more likely to have English subtitles for Korean movies. Moreover, they usually are not just a movie venue so you can expect to find bars and restaurants attached.
Tip! If you want to go to a regular movie theater but don’t know how to go about purchasing tickets, go here. Foreign movies will not be dubbed unless it’s a animation targeted for children.
Big Movie Theaters
CGV and Lotte movie theaters claim to show a Korean production with English subtitles multiple times a day at the following locations in Seoul:
Myeongdong CGV at Seoul, Jung-gu, Myeong-dong 2-ga, 83-5, Noon Square, F8, find them online here.
Guro CGV at Seoul, Guro-gu, Guro 5-dong, 573, Aekyung Department Store, F5, find them online here.
Yongsan CGV at Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Hangang-ro 3-ga, 40-999, I’Park Mall, F6, find them online here.
Gangnam CGV at Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Yeoksam-dong 814-6, Starplex, find them online here.
Lotte Cineme Konkuk University at Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, Jayang-dong 227-7, Star City F2. find them online here.
And in Busan
Lotte Cinema Centum City at Busan, Haeundae-gu, U-dong, Centum City 1496, Lotte Department Store, F8, find them online here.
However, it is advised that you check their website as not all movies are available with English subtitles, just a selected few. Moreover, for some reason the newest ones are almost never available with English subtitles after they open. It takes around three weeks for them to be translated (?).
Tip! The time slot for movies with English subtitles is almost always the same. However, they seem to schedule the movies with English subtitles at really unfortunate times such as at 4PM on a Wednesday.
Indie Movie Theaters
Arthouse Momo is very much your indie dream cinema. The prices a bit steeper, aka 9.000 KRW and you’re only allowed to drink water and there are only two screens. They show a lot of indie films and also foreign films (in the American sense). You might want to check the schedule, you probably don’t want to go all the way there and for the movie to turn out to be in some East European parseltongue. Their official web page can be found here.
To get there take the green line (Line 2) to Ewha Women’s University and get out through exit three. Walk down the main entrance to the campus and enter the ECC Gate #3 on the left side. Once you’re in down the hall on the left is where you can find Momo. Do also take a little tour of Ewha once the movie is finished. It’s a really beautiful campus!
You can find Cinecube in Gwanghwamun, in the basement of an insurance building. The Korean Film Art Center Baekdu DaeGan opened in in 2000 and it has been running for 16 years now. This theater is similar in size to Momo, there are also two screens here. You can bring more than water inside this one, and you can buy your snacks from the small convenience store int he building.
The lobby of the building has some really neat sculptures such as “Your Long Journey” by Fre Ilgen along with some installations by Korean and foreign artists.
The address in English is B2, Heungkuk Life Insurance Gwanghwamun Office Building, Shinmun-ro 1-ga 226, Jongno-gu and in Korean 종로구신문로 1-가226번지흥국생명광화문사옥지하2). You can phone them at +82 2 2002 7770. Find them online here.
Emu Art Space
Emu is a multi-functional cultural space that holds a cinema, a cafe and a gallery. They show movies with English subtitles and, as the two locations above, provide additional entertainment. The community at Emu is tight-knit and very open to new-comers. You can expect to make some friends here. The fact that they have a bar definitely helps a lot. You can find them on Facebook here and on their webpage here. Their physical address is 종로구 경희궁1가길 7Seoul 110-062 and you can reach them by phone at 02-720-9815.
There are a few K-movie aficionado communities such as K-movie Love on Facebook which you can find here and All In Korean With English Subs Please, which you can find here. If you join the group you will get notification when new movies with English subtitles are available. Yes, receiving constant notifications can be bothersome, but who knows, maybe you’ll even make a friend or two.
Finally, if you don’t manage to get to the movie theaters when they play the movies with English subtitles, nor to any Indie movie theater, just go to a regular one and be comfortable with being confused for two hours. After all, they serve beer in movie theaters so that’s your compensation.