Stand-alone movie theaters of this grandeur are hard to come by anywhere in the world these days. The financial input they require to keep them running smoothly usually out-weighs the revenue they generate. In classical economic terms, they're simply not cost effective, standing on land that is more valuable than they themselves are. Movie palaces like the Scala are testament to an era that has by and large been relegated to the annals of history (or blogs like this); architectural eye candy, which in the digital age don't really gel with the ways most people live.
The Scala Theater opened on December 31st, 1969, fully equipped with triple-projection Cinerama, 1,200 seats and the Thai premiere of The Undefeated, starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson. Since then it hasn't missed a beat. Apex management has kept up with the times, investing in all the state-of-the-art technology to maintain the Scala's world class and palatial appeal. In fact, it's of such regal standards that the King and Queen of Thailand have hosted charity film screenings there in the past.
Lower lobby, featuring a beautiful vaulted ceiling and a 5 tiered chandelier over the staircase landing.
But let's put aside the theater's opulence for a moment. Forget the fact that all three of the Apex operations are in a league of their own. There's a very human element to account for why the Scala, Siam and Lido make for such great cinemas. Most of Apex's employees have been working there for many years, with some staying on the payroll for life. That says something very important, I think. This is a company that genuinely cares! They care about their venues, they care about their customers and they care about their employees.
A wall sculpture in the upper lobby of the Scala above the entrance to the auditorium. The sculpture is a depiction of the changes in Thai society over the centuries. It is over 10 meters long. The sculptor was a Filipino.
There are a million little teeny boppers out there to fill the seats of the megaplexes in the shopping malls. There's another million slaves to name-brand consumption. As far as I'm concerned, the only brand name worth remembering when it comes to movie theaters in Bangkok is Apex.
"Scala" means "ladder" in Italian.