Major Cineplex Group Plc, the country's leading movie theatre operator, looks set to resume investment by allocating 800 million to 1 billion baht for expansion next year after scaling back during the pandemic.
Vicha Poonvaraluk, the company's chairman, said Major Cineplex plans to open 13 new movie theatres with 49 screens and three new bowling facilities with 40 lanes along with 30 new karaoke rooms.
The new movie theatres are scheduled for The One Bangkok, Central WestVille Ratchapruek and Robinson in Phuket. The company also plans to join hands with Ek-chai Distribution System Co, the operator of Lotus's, to open cineplexes at Lotus's branches in Nakhon Nayok, Sa Kaeo, Narathiwat, Pattani and at Big C hypermarkets in Bang Bon, Saraburi, Yala and others.
Major Cineplex currently operates 180 movie theatres with 839 screens and 188,973 seats.
Of the 180 theatres, 172 branches are in Thailand, with 800 screens and 180,081 seats. There are three theatres in Laos with 13 screens and five in Cambodia with 26 screens.
The company also operates eight Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl branches with 210 lanes and 121 karaoke rooms.
"To boost the growth of Thai films, we want to increase the ratio of Thai films to Hollywood films to 50:50 in the future," said Mr Vicha.
"We expect to show an average of two Thai movies per month as part of efforts to make Thailand a leading content hub."
He said the company will continue to support Thai film producers in making movies for international audiences, building soft power via films similar to South Korea's tactics in the global entertainment industry.
This strategy will generate income for Thailand and sustainable growth, said Mr Vicha.
"With 28 years in the trade, Major has confronted many challenges at both the local and global levels, particularly induced by the pandemic, which had a huge impact on the movie industry," he said.
"But we never stopped providing our customers with innovative technology to differentiate the experience between seeing movies at cinemas and on other platforms."
The company recently launched IMAX with Laser at three IMAX theatres, including Paragon Cineplex and Mega Cineplex.
Major also opened a new premium large format at Paragon Cineplex this year.
In addition, the company wants to focus on expanding its concession business next year, such as snacks and beverages, said Mr Vicha.
"Although the movie theatre business felt the pinch during the pandemic, we saw clear growth for our snack products, especially popcorn, that is sold outside the cinema," he said.
It plans to open 20 new Major's popcorn kiosks outside theatres next year, up from 19 this year. The new kiosks are at convenience stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets and malls, said Mr Vicha.