SEOUL — Japan’s Cine Qua Non has closed its multiplex in South Korean capital Seoul.
Cine Qua Non had operated a subsidiary, Cine Qua Non Korea, since 2005, having acquired a lease for a 5-screen multiplex in Myung-dong, a popular entertainment area in the heart of Seoul and one especially famous for Japanese tourists.
Opened in January 2006, the theater has attracted art house movie fans in Korea and specialized as a theater for Japanese movies.
Although Cine Qua Non took a long term view of its operations, the complex struggled to make money and matters were recently made worse by issues over the ownership of the building. It is not clear yet whether the company will try to find another location for the cinema or abandon the Korean exhibition business.
Cine Qua Non Korea has announced that it is not withdrawing from Korea completely. It will continue to acquire and self distribute in Korea the movies it produces and secures in Japan. Titles it has directly distributed in Korea included “Hula Girls,” “Love & Peace” and “Yureru.”
The cinema complex also acted as a showcase for retrospectives of Japanese films which were banned in South Korea until a wave of liberalization in 1998.
According to KOFIC data, the market share for Japanese films in Korea in 2007 was only 1.2%, down by almost half from the previous year.