Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hollywood comes to Cambodia

Hollywood comes to Cambodia

Hollywood comes to Cambodia

110628_7
Workers instal seats at the new Legend Cinema in Phnom Penh yesterday. The cinema is scheduled to open on July 7. Photo by: Pha Lina

THE first Phnom Penh cinema licensed to show Hollywood films is set to open in the City Mall early next month, according to company officials.

Legend Cinema is the only company in Cambodia licensed by the Ministry of Culture to distribute such films.

It aims to attract patrons with a select-ion of the latest international releases, Michael Chai, director of the theatre's owner, Westec Media Limited, says.

The US$1.5 million theatre has three screens and 800 seats, including a 3D screen. It is set to open on July 7 with tickets from $4, which Chai says is similar to prices in neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.

“Our main target audience is expats and Cambodians [educated abroad], but we expect more Cambodians to start visiting cinemas, as the high-quality service provides a totally different experience from home viewing,” he says.

It is the company’s first operation in Cambodia, but plans for further developments in Phnom Penh are in the pipeline, Chai says.

The first movie to be screened will be Transformers 3, followed by the latest Kung-Fu Panda and X-Men instalments.

Although there are few theatres filling this niche, Legend Cinema faces competition from movie-watchers at home.

The culture of purchasing pirate DVDs, because of the Kingdom’s lack of intellectual property laws, is one of the main reasons behind the lack of cinemas in Cambodia, Chai says.

“There was a similar situation in Malaysia 10 years ago. It was the piracy capital of the world, and only four or five local films were released each year, but some films now gross more than US$1 million there.

“This could be the catalyst for success in Cambodia’s film industry.”

But some who have opened theatres in the Kingdom doubt there will be many local filmgoers at first, given the lack of disposable income.

Although the emergence of new cinemas is a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go in enticing people to the big screen when copied DVDs are widely available, Martin Robinson, co-founder of  The Flicks Community Movie House, says.

“It’s unlikely that Cambodian families will pay $4 each to go to the movies when they can stay at home and watch a film that costs around $1,” Robinson says.  ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DON WEINLAND

MOST VIEWED

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong