Thailand Poised for Record Year of International Film Productions

"Lost in Thailand" (Xu Zheng, 2012), $202.1 million

Actor-turned director Xu Zheng’s comedy, about the misadventures of three Chinese men in Thailand, is not just the highest-grossing Chinese-language film ever – it’s probably the most profitable by a wide margin (the film was reportedly made for just $4.8 million). Thanks to the huge earnings of the film, producer Enlight Media is now the second biggest domestic studio player by revenue in the Chinese market, behind only Huayi Brothers. 

Data from the Thailand Film Office shows that total revenue in the first five months is already more than 80 percent of 2014's total.

Despite political turmoil leading to an 11 percent tumble in revenues last year, Thailand still remains attractive for international productions and 2015 is shaping up to be a record year, according to data from the country's film office.

The figures show that film production in Thailand has been largely unaffected by the military coup in May 2014, as well as growing competition from neighboring countries.

Figures from the Thailand Film Office show that in the first five months of 2015, revenue from foreign productions was $46.7 million (1,578 million Baht).

Thailand usually sees a spike in foreign production in the cool season at the start of the year, but with a number of productions currently in preproduction and production, including Stephen Gaghan's Gold and Marc Forster's All I See Is You, Thailand's production service industry looks set to be busy for the remaining 12 months.

In the whole of 2014, total revenue from foreign productions in 2014 was $57.25 million, meaning that after five months, revenue is already more than 80 percent of last year's total.

In 2014, 48 foreign feature films came to Thailand, while up until May 2015, 37 feature films had already commenced production.

Thailand's natural environment and lively urban scene make it popular with overseas filmmakers, and big productions shot there in recent years include Hangover II, The Beach, The Impossible and The Lady. The massive success of the Chinese movie Lost in Thailand in 2013 has resulted in a rise in the number of Chinese tourists.

Ubolwan Sucharitakul, director of the Thailand Film Office, claimed that Thailand's experience, its skilled crews and the wide range of attractive locations has helped the country compete with other countries.

"We have met producers who were tempted by incentives to film in countries with less well-established film industries, and some have found that they were hampered by the lack of crew, facilities and infrastructure, and that the savings have been offset by the need to import crew and equipment and by the inefficiencies caused by lack of experience and communication," he said.