Before the advent of DVDs and Video Streaming, one has to rely on the Silver Screen.
Cinemas in Rangoon
In our younger days, the cinemas in Rangoon include :
- Bayint Naung
- Carlton / Yuzana
- Excelsior / Waziya
- Globe / Gon
- Kar Htay
- Light house / Nay Pyi Daw
- Ma Yo San
- President / Thamada
- Palladium / Pa Pa Win
- Royal / Taw Win
- Shwe Gon
- Shwe Mann
- Sun Thiri
- Tabin Shwe Htee
Cost of cinema tickets
- President had Loge seats for five kyats
- Most cinemas have Dress Circle seats for K3.50.
- Back row seats cost K2.50.
- Middle row seats cost K1.50. UTC members get a discount rate of 90 pyas.
- Front row sets sell for 75 pyas.
- Screening times were 12:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM.
- When a movie was offered in multiple cinemas, the starting times of the main feature were staggered (to allow the physical sharing of the movie reels across adjacent or close cinemas).
- New shows usually started on Fridays at 12:30 PM.
- Attendees for the “First Day First Show” usually indicated the popularity of a new movie.
- The movie “Hna ma let shawt nay le dawt” was one exception. Some believe U Khin Maung Yin (A60, Modern Artist) was ahead of the time.
- Before the main feature, there were news (e.g. by Rank Organization), cartoons and trailers (of forthcoming movies).
e.g. The Longest Day, The Guns of Navarone
e.g. Jerry Lewis, Norman Wisdom
e.g. Imitation of Life, Madam X
e.g. Ten Commandments, Ben Hur
e.g. South Pacific, Sound of Music
- Science Fiction
e.g. Time Machine
e.g. Dracula, Psycho
e.g. Around the world in eighty days
- Cinema-scope, Todd AO productions were some of the then novel features.
- Most movie lengths were between 8000 to 12000 feet. Longer films required the change of viewing times (e.g. less shows per day).
- Movies needed approval from the Censor Board.
- Academy awards were given to eligible Burmese/Myanmar movies, directors, actors, …
- Cinemas were nationalized were nationalized a few years after the Coup d’etat.
- With the advent of TV, DVDs and the Internet, the former cinema goers around the world changed their viewing habits.
- A few years back, only a limited number of movies were produced in Myanmar.
- Some Myanmar movie stars and enthusiasts are building cinemas (some of them mega-cinemas) to revive the memories of the Silver Screen (and its improvements).