Owners of the Bangkok Screening Room, the independent cinema set in Silom’s Woof Pack building, announced today that the theater will be closing at the end of March.
In a Facebook post, representatives of the theater said that the ongoing pandemic had “greatly affected [their] business,” and that they have “exhausted all [their] available resources to push further.”
Following the permanent closure of Scala last year, and the indefinite, pandemic-induced closure of Cinema Oasis in Phrom Phong, the Bangkok Screening Room was one of Bangkok’s only remaining independent cinemas. Over the years, it had gained a cult following for its unique program of art house, foreign, and independent films unavailable at Thailand’s chain theaters.
The cinema opened four years ago with a line-up that included “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” Thailand’s first Palme d’Or-winning film, written, produced, and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Since then, the theater had screened everything from the Japanese classic “Rashomon” to the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” to Thai indie films like “Krabi, 2562.”
As cinemas across Thailand were forced to close in March and April last year, the Bangkok Screening Room began offering voucher packs to drive sales. Annual losses, uncertainty, and social distancing restrictions fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic have proven too great for many businesses to continue, however.
Over the past 10 months, social distancing restrictions for cinemas in Bangkok have included limiting seating to 50 percent and a ban on the sale of alcohol and food. In June, Siam Paragon ordered Paragon Cineplex to close for three days after its operator, Major Group, organized a packed-house event with the teen stars of Series Y in violation of the national emergency decree.
The Bangkok Screening Room will stay open through March 31. Screening room members can redeem free passes and enjoy membership benefits until then. Tickets for films can still be purchased at bkksr.com.