Last update 5/3/2011 1:00:00 PM (GMT+7)

The coming age of wide-screen movies

VietNamNet Bridge – Many people may be surprised to know that there are over 300 film theatres in Vietnam, according to a survey by a company that plans to invest in a network of 3D box offices in Vietnam.

Except for those in big cities like Hanoi, HCM City, Hai Phong, Bien Hoa, Da Nang and Vung Tau, people often complain that they want to watch a movie in a cinema but there is no cinema. Most of the existing cinemas are old, unused or hired to do other business.

The market for wide-screen movies only covers big cities, and the market is ruled by several systems of cinemas like Megastar, Galaxy, BHD and Saigon Movies Media, totaling over 100 cinemas.

From 2005 through 2010, this market grew impressively with a total revenue rocketing from $1.2 million/year to $25 million, according to Megastar. Some modern cinema complexes were built in big cities, creating a new market segment for high-income earners.

Vietnamese audience have had chances to enjoy Hollywood blockbusters at the same time as audiences in the rest of the world. Vietnamese film studios have also produced many commercial films for the local market.

However, the market for wide-screen movies in Vietnam is very fierce. Many locally-made films cannot compete with Hollywood movies to get the best projection rooms or the best screening timetables.

Film distributors in Vietnam only earn profit from a new movie in the first two weeks, compared to three months of profit in more developed countries. After that they do not earn money from releasing DVDs of their film because of film piracy..

Vietnamese film theatres introduce over 100 foreign films a year, 70 percent from Hollywood and 30 percent from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.

Last year, only 11 Vietnamese movies premiered in cinemas. The number is expected to reach 20 this year. Meanwhile, the government stipulates that locally-made movies must account for 20 percent of the film shows in a year.

The number of audience at film theatres has increased quickly but the number of cinemas has risen slowly. New cinemas are mainly built in big cities.

Notably, according to regulations, film distributors must have their own cinemas. In other countries, there is separation between film distribution firms and cinemas to avoid unhealthy competition.

Until now, there is no official survey of the audience of cinema theatres in Vietnam.

However, experts said that this market will continue growing robustly in the coming time.

Minh Chanh