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Major budgets Bt1 bn to add 50 movie screens

Major Cineplex, already the country's largest cinema chain, will invest Bt1 billion this year to add 50 screens in both domestic and regional markets to boost revenue by 15-20 per cent from Bt6 billion last year.

A Bt300-million, six-star cineplex will premiere at the new EmQuartier shopping centre on Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road with a new concept, combining nine theatres, including 4DX and IMAX.

"This new cinema will offer the same standard of service as Paragon Cineplex but with a different experience and design," Cineplex chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck said yesterday.

Seven new locations will be mainly upcountry inside Big C Supercenters and CentralPlaza shopping centres.

In Cambodia meanwhile, a seven-screen cineplex with 1,588 seats will start operating in June in the Aeon mall in Phnom Penh under a Bt250-million joint venture with Aeon. Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam are also under study for expansion in the near future.

Last year saw 70 screens go into 13 locations in provinces such as Prachin Buri, Surat Thani and Suphan Buri.

"I believe that local consumption will remain healthy this year despite the prolonged political unrest. Hollywood features coming in throughout this year are very attractive, while Thai productions are becoming increasingly popular among moviegoers," Vicha said.

The film industry expects about 15-per-cent growth from Bt7 billion last year. In the provinces, the popularity of Thai titles is still on the rise while viewers in Greater Bangkok prefer Hollywood blockbusters.

Major's three film-production houses - M39, Talent One and M Picture Entertainment - are also emphasising local motion pictures to boost box-office sales for the new properties in the provinces.

Of the company's targeted revenue this year, Bt4 billion will come from ticket sales, he said.


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