A mixture of home grown hits and Hollywood imports are expected to give a huge boost to revenues at the Thai box office this year.
The industry is expected to generate revenues of $66m (Bt3btn) this year, up from $50m (Bt2.3bn) in 2000.
At least one third of the Thai 2001 box office is expected to be come from local films. Prime among these is the release this month of Suriyothai which, with a budget of $20m, is the most expensive Thai film ever to be produced. It tells the true story of Thai Queen Suriyothai who waged war against Portuguese mercenaries in the sixteenth century. Made at the initiative of the present day queen of Thailand, the film boasts unparalleled access to palaces, battlegrounds and other locations.
Apart from Suroyothai, the forthcoming releases Jurassic Park III and Final Fantasy are also expected to generate major ticket sales. "Intensifying competition is the major factor driving the growth of the Thai market, leading distributors to focus more on promotional activities," Columbia Tristar Buena Vista Film (CTBV) country manager Jame R Dhiraputra told Associated Press.
Already this year there have been notable successes. The Mummy Returns and Pearl Harbor both earned more than $2m (Bt100m.)