Surprise and shock greeted the announcement that GTH, Thailand’s most successful studio of the past 11 years, closed shop at the end of December.
Since its founding in 2004, GTH was instrumental in shaping the landscape of Thai cinema, solidified its reputation as a feel-good brand with strong audience loyalty. It produced many of the country’s biggest hits including “Pee Mak” (the country’s all-time box office champion at 1 billion baht, or $28.5 million), “I Fine … Thank You, Love You,” “Hello Stranger,” “Laddaland,” “4bia” and many more.
Founded by three partners, GMM Grammy, Tai Entertainment and Hub Ho Hin — thus the acronym GTH — the breakup was relatively cordial, the official reason being a disagreement among the stakeholders in the long-delayed decision to list the company in the stock market.
But everyone has now moved on. The breakup showed that there had always been two camps in GTH, and each of them has now formed a new outfit: GDH 559 and T Moment.
GDH 559 (“gross domestic happiness”) is a partnership between GMM Grammy and Hub Ho Hin. The new studio looks like an exact reincarnation of the old GTH, with nearly all of GTH’s creative people and executives on board.
Meanwhile former GTH president Visute Poolvoralaks joined with Mono Technology to establish T Moment, with the creative team newly recruited.
Neither company will be present in Cannes this year.
The library of GTH films will be handled by GDH 559, according to Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, senior director of international business affairs. “We will follow the path that made GTH successful, because the new studio is made up mostly of the same team, though we have also grown up professionally,” he adds.
GDH 559 has three ongoing projects. The first is a romantic comedy set in Japan and directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, who made the smash hit “Pee Mak.” It should be ready later this year.
T Moment is unlikely to have anything ready in 2016.
“We’re working on six projects. They won’t be that different from what we did before, though we will look for fresh angles in all genres, from horror to romance and comedy,” said Poolvoralaks, who was behind some of the late 1990s films that helped revive the industry. “Audience no longer distinguishes between Thai and Hollywood films. They watch anything that’s good. That’s what we have to keep in mind.”