Thai producer says local pix slighted

Vichitjinda claims exhibs favoring foreign fare

BANGKOK — The producer of melodrama “Mont Rak Luk Thung” (Song From the Feel of Love) symbolically burned a copy of the print to protest what he called the undue influence exerted by the major chains over local films.

The producer, Prasit Vichitjinda, complained he had a hard time securing screens for the pic because exhibs were favoring Chinese-lingo hit “Kung Fu Hustle.”

Subsequently the Major Cineplex Group, which operates dominant loops Major Cineplex and EGV, allocated six screens for the pic, mostly in what Vichitjinda regarded as low-performing cinemas.

The film, directed by Chakrit Panichkul on a budget of about $500,000, was released Feb 9. Six days later Vichitjinda burnt a print after Major Cineplex cut the sessions from four to two per day. It’s yet to be screened at SF Cinemas.

A Major Cineplex exec shrugged off the protest, noting it’s common to yank sessions if a film isn’t performing.

Vichitjinda has written to the Ministry of Commerce, asking it to consider whether Major Cineplex has too much power over local films. He also called for a government quota for local films in cinemas.

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