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South Korea’s CJ Entertainment and Thailand’s Major Cineplex have set up a joint venture to produce a slate of movies for the Thai and Southeast Asian markets.

The new CJ Major Entertainment will be 51% owned by CJ and 49% controlled by Major. It starts with initial capital of $2.8 million (THB100 million).

The new company will produce 15-20 movies, each with an average budget of THB50 million ($1.4 million) over the next five years.

The first film to receive the green light is a Thai remake of CJ’s hit “Miss Granny,” which is expected to star Davika Hoorne, the female lead from 2013 smash hit “Pee Mak Phrakanong” and 2015 breakout “Freelance.”

The deal is the formalization of an agreement in principle struck by the two companies at the end of May last year.

Both groups are exhibition market leaders in their home territories and are expanding across borders in Asia – both in exhibition and increasingly in distribution and production.

CJ’s CJ-CGV operates cinemas in China, Indonesia (as CGV Blitz) and in Vietnam. It has a production joint venture in Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary in China and has produced movies in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Major Cineplex has 92 cinema complexes in Thailand with a total of 600 screens. It has a further seven screens in Cambodia and five in Laos.

CJ sees involvement in local production around Asia as a means of involving and growing theatrical audiences, and as a door for Korean content – either as theatrical releases or as remakes.

Major’s chairman and CEO Vichya Poolvaraluk makes a similar case in support of his group’s growing production drive. Thai films are popular in the Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar region where Major is expanding its presence as an exhibitor.

M Pictures, Major’s Thailand production operation, told Variety that at the recent FilMart in Hong Kong it struck sales deals for its upcoming horror thriller “Take Me Home” with PT Inter SolusIndo for Indonesia, with Westec Media for Cambodia, with DD Content for Vietnam and Myanmar and with Suraya Filma Production and Distribution for Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei.