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...
Vicha Poolvaraluck was born into a film industry family which owned studios and single screen cinemas. When he took over the business from his father in 1992, he ditched the old theaters and opened the country’s first multiplex in 1996.
Adding in bowling alleys and karaoke parlors, as well as shops and restaurants, to create an entertainment centre was a winning formula.
Poolvaraluck negotiated the 2004 acquisition of EGV, then owned by a rival branch of the family, and Major Cineplex now accounts for over 65% of Thailand’s theatrical box office. That position has in turn allowed Major to create a significant distribution arm, M Pictures, which acquires international films.
Arguably the most important figure in the Thai industry, Poolvaraluck is regarded as wily and tough, yet also entrepreneurial and evolving. The company is now engaged in a race with rival Asian chains to expand operations into South East Asia’s under-developed cinema markets in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. One useful weapon in Poolvaraluck’s armory is the taste of audiences in the CLMV territories for Thai movies. It is no coincidence then that Major is increasing its production activities, both on its own and in partnership with South Korea’s CJ Entertainment.