Friday, June 25, 2004

More merger action

Now that Major Cineplex has bought up its rival and given itself a commanding 70 percent market share, the company wants more control over the movies it is showing. This week, Major Cineplex announced plans to swallow up Nonthanund Entertainment, a distributor of indie and B-grade films.

Among the titles Nonthanund has brought into Thailand was Amelie.

Major had already been moving toward distribution, buying up the Thai rights to Fahrenheit 9/11 at Cannes.

This causes more concerns for the state of the Thai film industry, which already fears being shut out of the nation's biggest theater chain. When the Major-EGV merger was announced, Sahamongkol Film, the country's biggest distributor (and owner of the now-second-largest multiplex chain), announced none of its films would be shown at Major.

There were also fears that the merger would lead to higher admission prices, but it looks as though prices will be held down. Possibly, they may even become cheaper, as Major is exploring "niche markets."

“Why does a movie that has been playing in theatres for three weeks have the same ticket price as a film in its first week?” asked Major Cineplex executive chairman Vicha Poolvoraluck in an interview with The Nation. “Why are tickets for a children’s movie the same as those for a film for adults?”

Good questions, Vicha. Such think leads me to believe that Major is looking to become more family friendly by lowering prices.

Already this week, Shrek 2 has been brought back in a re-release with a special promotional admission of 70 baht. Normal ticket prices run from around 80 to 140 baht.

Meanwhile, a Nation editorial (temporary link) is trying to make sense of the situation.

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