SEOUL -- As a surviving strategy to ride out a crisis triggered by a novel coronavirus epidemic, CJ CGV, a top cinema chain in South Korea, has unveiled an "untact" multiplex with minimal face-to-face services using a self-driving robot and a smart ticket check system to attract movie fans who have shunned theaters for social distancing.
An experimental movie theater complex run by CJ CGV emerged in Seoul's main finance and banking district in Yeouido. The cinema chain, which has thousands of screens at home and abroad, suffered a drastic setback in sales this year due to COVID-19. The number of moviegoers in South Korea hit a monthly low of 1.83 million in March, according to the Korean Film Council.
"COVID-19 has raised the need for "untact" services for customer safety in all industries," Oh Dae-sik, head of CJ CGV's smart innovation team, said, adding CJ CGV would consider expanding the untact cinema to its entire chain after watching an audience response in Yeouido.
At its Yeouido multicomplex, CJ CGV said it would introduce a snack bar that doesn't have to wait in line. Visitors can order menus through kiosks at the snack bar or fast-order applications and certify receipt QR codes to the scanner. If they tap a pick-up box made of transparent LED windows, the door opens to get prepared menus. Popcorn and drinks can be purchased at a self-bar.
A 150-centimeter-tall self-driving robot provides customers with information such as events, a timetable for screening and the location of theaters and restrooms. A smart ticket check system has been established at the entrance of each theater to eliminate human interference, and customers can scan their tickets and enter.
Theaters, churches and other multi-use facilities have been ordered to shut down or follow strict quarantine rules.
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