United Artists ready to flex its first Thai plex

BANGKOK — United Artists will open its first theater in Thailand on Friday. The $5 million project to build the five-screen multiplex is a joint venture called Siam UATC, in which UA, Britain’s Pacific Media and four local investors have partnered.

The theaters, with a combined capacity of 1,600 seats, are located in a newly opened high-end shopping center in downtown Bangkok.

General manager Suphot Hudakorn is hoping to attract as many as 100,000 theatergoers per month, and hopes to turn a profit within four to five years.

Siam UATC is planning three other Bangkok openings. An $8 million nine-screener is expected to be completed this year. The other two, with a combined 16 screens, are skedded for completion in 1998 and 1999.

Siam UATC chairman Lursak Thavornvanit told Daily Variety, “The target group will be different in each area.”

The plex opening Friday at the Emporium shopping center will be aimed at high-end moviegoers. The next will target a middle-class audience and later screens will cater to budget-minded moviegoers.

Lursak said that the company is looking for local product in an attempt to hold down costs.

The opening here is UA’s third in Asia. Earlier multiplexes have opened in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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