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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 30): Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), which is owned by PPB Group Bhd, said local movies have played a more important role in its box office, and GSC is currently looking to expand its screening of local and regional films.

GSC group chief executive officer Koh Mei Lee, who is also PPB's group head of corporate affairs, was responding to the press on whether similar theatrical release cancellations such as Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder and Disney’s Lightyear in 2022 will impact GSC's future revenue and profitability.

“Fortunately in Malaysia, we do not only rely on Hollywood titles. We do have titles from Indonesia [such as] KKN di Desa Penari that did really well, more than RM20 million in box office. We also have movies from Thailand, [South] Korea and our local movies,” she said during PPB’s media briefing on its financial results for the first half ended June 30, 2022 (1HFY22) on Tuesday (Aug 30).

“Even though there was a cancellation of Thor in July, [local film] Mat Kilau: Kebangkitan Pahlawan actually more than made up for it. This month, we are releasing [another local film,] Air Force The Movie: Selagi Bernyawa,” she said.

Nonetheless, Koh said GSC is engaging with the authorities and distributors to come to an understanding of the types of movies that can be released locally, as well as the editing terms.

Faster-than-expected recovery

Koh, meanwhile, said GSC has recovered quicker than expected with the full reopening of its cinemas, but added that it will still take a few years to recoup the losses it experienced during the pandemic, even after it acquired a majority of MBO cinemas.

According to PPB’s financial reports, GSC returned to profit in the second quarter ended June 30, 2022 (2QFY22) with a profit before tax of RM22.26 million, compared to a loss before tax of RM29.9 million for 1QFY22. But for 1HFY22, GSC remained in the red with a loss before tax of RM7.65 million, on a revenue of RM221 million.

“There has been pent-up demand [for cinemas]. People want to go back to cinemas for good movies. In April, [our] box office was back to 80% of pre-pandemic [levels]; in June and July, [our] box office actually exceeded the corresponding quarter in 2019.

“We have not really increased ticket prices, and [cinemas are] still the cheapest form of entertainment,” Koh said, adding that 60% of GSC's income came from ticket sales and 40% from concessions.

GSC is targeting to open 42 new screens by the end of 2022 — eight in Sunway Iskandar, Johor; nine in Spring, Bintulu; 12 in Bukit Bintang City Centre; and 13 in IOI City Mall, Putrajaya.

To date, PPB operates 474 screens in 50 locations in Malaysia via GSC. It also operates 108 screens in 18 locations in Vietnam via Galaxy Studio Joint Stock Company, in which PPB has a 40% stake.

Edited BySurin Murugiah & Tan Choe Choe
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