Thailand's Major Cineplex Group caters to children

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Asia / Pacific Roundabout

Major Cineplex Group Plc, one of Thailand’s leading theatre operators, opened the country’s first venue exclusively dedicated to children aged five to 12 in mid-May. Kodomo Kids Cinema, named after the main sponsor, an infant and children hygiene product line manufactured by Japan’s Lion Corporation, is part of the operator’s ultra-modern Mega Cineplex venue situated in an East Bangkok suburb and has a total of 84 seats.

The auditorium’s very lively interior design comes with ball-play pits and a kids’ slide, which the young audience can use before and even during any movie screening.Programming solely consists of G-rated, child-friendly animation, cartoon and adventure films aimed at “developing and enhancing the young audience members’ thoughts, imaginations and emotions in a good way.”Furthermore, the sound volume during any screening is kept fairly low while the lighting in the auditorium remains on to allow parents to ensure their kids’ safety.

“Modern parents nowadays might find it hard to bring their kids to regular cinemas, as they may disturb the viewing pleasure of [adult] audiences,” the company said in a press release. “Major Cineplex Group and Kodomo therefore have resolved to provide this new service and cinematic experience in order to accommodate modern families that have kids aged from five to 12 years old. Not only does it allow parents to spend family quality time with their offspring, but the kids also can be themselves and have maximum fun. Moreover, it is a good opportunity for parents and kids alike to get to know new friends.”

About 50 percent of Major Cineplex Group’s customers currently comprise teenagers and college students, but so far the company hasn’t had any venue suitable for younger children in particular. The operator hopes its kids’ cinema concept will help foster long-term customer loyalty “as these kids will eventually grow up and become part of an older demographic.” According toTouchchai Kleebbua, a marketing executive at Major Cineplex Group’s Flagship & International Business department, “the Kodomo Kids Cinema has received very positive feedback since its inauguration.” As a consequence, the operator plans to establish further kids’ cinemas at several of its branches located in residential areas around Greater Bangkok in the near future.

SCO to Foster Multilateral Film Collaboration

A forum in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao held by the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO, aka Shanghai Pact) has agreed to foster closer collaboration between the eight nations to produce movies together. Leading member China said it was not only ready to co-produce films with the other members but also to increase cooperation in training film talent and develop mechanisms for film exchanges.The forum, initiated by China, was described by delegates from the other countries as “an excellent platform to deepen film cooperation [within the organization].”

As part of the multilateral collaboration, Beijing Film Academy will offer one-year movie production training programs to young filmmakers from SCO countries, while China Film Co., Ltd. is going to invite film industry professionals from across the SCO to nurture and deepen their skills on-site.

SCO, a regional political, economic and security organization, was established in June 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, while India and Pakistan joined in June 2017. It is today considered one of the most influential regional alliances in the world and enjoys growing political and economic importance.

Indian Actress Nabbed for Operating Prostitution Ring

Indian police in the southern state of Tamil Nadu arrested popular film and television actress Sangeetha Balan (41) on suspicion of running a child prostitution racket. She was taken by police from her home in the state capital Chennai together with her domestic partner, Sathish, local newspapers reported. A court remanded the couple in judicial custody for two weeks pending further investigations. The arrests reportedly followed a police raid at a resort in a Chennai suburb.

"We conducted a raid at the resort during the weekend after we received a tip-off and rescued four young girls who claimed they were lured into providing prostitution services by the actress," an unnamed police official was quoted as saying. The investigators alleged the actress and her partner lured the girls with promises of securing them acting roles in movies and television series. The ages of the rescued girls were not disclosed, thus it is not clear whether it is a case of child prostitution.

Balan rose to fame with her acting debut in the Tamil-language blockbuster Karuppu Roja in 1996. She subsequently had supporting roles in a long row of other Tamil movies, eventually also moving into television acting, becoming a popular fixture in numerous soap dramas.

For feedback and inquiries, contact Thomas Schmid at thomas.schmid@filmjournal.com.