The Malaysian cinema industry seems to be in quite a healthy state, with cinema admissions having more than doubled in 2007 compared to 2004. Total cinema admission was 33.55 million versus a mere 16.69 million in 2004. With the gradual increase in ticket prices from and average of about RM7.50 per ticket in 2004 to about RM8.60 in 2007, it saw an increase in total gross box office takings from RM124 million in 2004 to RM289 million in 2007. With this upbeat, local cinema chains such as Golden Screen Cinemas (especially so) and Tanjong Golden Village, continue to invest in new cinemas which brings the total number of screens to more than 350 in 2007, an increase of more than 50% compared to 2004.
Needless to say, the main contributor to this growth is the release of more and more Hollywood blockbusters. Hollywood movies saw an almost 4 times growth in terms of admission within this period. Tamil and Chinese movies also saw significant growth within this period too, a more than double growth for Chinese movies and triple growth for Tamil movies. However, there did not seem to have much growth in terms of admission for local Malay language movies within this period, with total admission of about 3.27 million in 2004 versus 3.73 million in 2007.
Hollywood movies continues to dominate the local cinemas and has a market share of more than 50% over the said period. In the same period, we saw a decrease in the share of local Malay movie, from slightly more than 20% in 2004 to only about 10%-12% in 2007 despite the gradual increase in the number of local Malay films being produced and released in the market.
In 2004, only about 16 Malay movies made it to the cinemas compared to about 21 Malay movies in 2007. This could only mean that the average box office collections for the Malay movies have decreased over the period, from an average about RM1.46 million per movie to about RM1.38 million in 2007. Compare this to the rising cost of production from about RM1.3 million per movie in 2004 to about RM1.7million per movie in 2007, the commercial outlook for Malay movies do not look good.
Add to the above the significant drop in the local video market plus an almost non-existent export market, we shall foresee the exit of some local production companies especially those independent ones that do not have the back-up of conglomerates that also own TV stations. With this too, it is expected that the number of productions of Malay movies will be reduced to a more commercially viable number in the near future.
The above is in regard to the mainstream commercial cinema where a local Malay movie will have a release in at least 30 cinemas. For a discussion on the other Malaysian cinema current, which is more exciting, please refer to the Malaysian New Wave article.