3 Cinemas Shut Doors After Audiences Dwindle

Cambodia’s movie industry continues to turn out more and more films each year, but a decline in moviegoers has forced three Phnom Penh theaters to shut their doors in the last three months, in­dustry sources said.

The proprietors of Monivong Boulevard’s Kampul Pech and Royal Sound Khemarin theatres and Charles de Gaulle Boulevard’s Prasat Meas said Thursday that they have shut their gates for financial reasons.

“We cannot return to operate the cinema again,” Kampul Pech Presi­dent Bun Sear said, adding that the cinema closed last month.“We don’t want to waste our time be­cause we cannot make profits,” he said.

Prasat Meas cinema produces its own films and has closed at least tem­porarily, owner Hang Vannara said.

“The Cambodian movie sector al­ways floats and sinks,” he said.

But he said the long-term trend doesn’t look good for theatres be­cause pirated VCDs are cheap and plentiful.

“Moviegoers are students and poor people, but the rich people like to watch movies at home,” he said.

Royal Sound Khemarin Director Pov Soeng said the city has too many cinemas serving a limited moviegoing public. He said his cinema spent $400 a day to operate but could not make the money back.

He also warned that if cinemas die out, moviemakers will spend less time and money making films.

“The quality cannot be good,” he said.

Culture Ministry Undersecretary of State Som Sokun claimed that the movie business is volatile in Cam­bodia because Cambodians do not like to watch foreign films.

Som Sokun said that if the quality of domestic films temporarily de­clines, cinemas face financial hardships.

“[Cambodians] like only Khmer food and they are very selective,” he said.

Tong Seng, the owner of Bokor, Vimeantip and Prom Bayon cinemas agreed that it is the quality of the films that determines the fate of the industry.

He said that his theaters stay afloat because he directs and produces his own movies. Neverthe­less, the business is volatile, he said.

“I am always concerned,” he said.



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