Thailand pulled in nearly 1.1 billion baht (US$28 million) this year from 413 productions, including features, TV series and music videos, shot on location.
Japanese shot the most, 140, in 2004, while 77 were by Europeans and 20 by Americans.
The Thai government hopes to increase revenues to 4 billion baht within five years. To lure foreign filmmakers, the government has given an eight-year tax break for companies, foreign or local, to invest in film production and reduced income tax on foreign actors to a 10 percent flat rate.
More collaboration with foreign filmmakers could help the local industry build up its know-how, said Surasak Sunpituksaree, of Thailand's Federation of National Film Associations.
Export income from Thai-produced films in 2004 increased fourfold, from 800 million baht (US$20 million; euro15 million) baht to 3.2 billion baht (US$82 million; euro61 million) as more Thai films have been screened abroad, Surasak said.
Foreign films made in Thailand this past year include Oliver Stone's Alexander, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and the critically lauded Two Brothers.
Iconic films shot in Thailand include the Bond thriller The Man With the Golden Gun (shot in Bangkok and Phuket's Pang Nga Bay), the Cambodian war drama The Killing Fields (see Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia for more about this), Brian De Palma's Vietnam War drama Casualties of War (made in Phuket), Bruce Lee's feature debut The Big Boss, and Danny Boyle's The Beach, which set off an environmental controversy as it was shot in a pristine national park island lagoon.
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)