Some shoots continue, though pic openings are delayed

Thailand’s worst flooding in 70 years has wreaked havoc on the entertainment biz, but there are signs of resilience in the southeast Asian country despite the deluge.

The flooding, which began in July, has hit nearly a third of the country’s 77 provinces, including Bangkok, causing the cancellation of concerts and the closure of theaters in the capital, while local and overseas distribs have postponed the launch of some titles.

However, the Thailand Film Office said filmmakers from overseas were still working on projects in unaffected regions in central and southern parts of the country.

“At present, we have about eight or nine productions filming or getting ready to start production,” TFO director Wanasiri Morakul said in a statement.

“We know that many international filmmakers are presently in pre-production for 2012 shoots and we want to assure you, Bangkok will bounce back very quickly from this tragic situation. Please don’t count us down and out — we are now, and will be in the future, open for your filming business,” she said.

At this month’s American Film Market director Pinchas Perry said he intends to film his Bangkok bargirl tale “Private Dancer” in Thailand in 2012. Korean director Lee Myung-sae is also considering filming in Thailand in March.

Local shingle Sahamongkol Film has delayed the opening of helmer duo Gok Kim and Sun Kim’s “White: The Melody of the Curse” until Dec. 8 and helmer Prachya Pinkaew’s “The Kick” to Dec. 22. Auditions for “Thailand’s Got Talent” have been postponed.

The flooding forced Bangkok’s busiest multiplex, Major Cineplex Ratchayothin, to close its doors, while the World Film Festival of Bangkok has been rescheduled from early November to mid-January.

However, the capital’s main commercial and financial center is still dry and distribs prepared to take a chance are finding auds, as many seem eager to escape the misery and go to the movies.

Local romantic comedy “30 kamlang jaew” has taken over 40 million baht ($1.3 million) since it opened on Nov. 3, local media reported, while sci-fi thriller “In Time” has earned slightly over $970,000 since late October.

Vicha Poolvaraluck, chairman of Thailand’s biggest exhibitor, Major Cineplex Group, said flooding forced the temporary shutdown of more than a quarter of its theaters in 12 locations, affecting 103 of its 373 screens.

The company remains committed to investing $32.5 million to open 50 more screens next year.

Morakul said an incentive offering no-cost permits to film in Thailand’s national parks and on government land, due to end this year, may be extended into 2012.

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