Spurred on by export-driven agricultural expansion and a budding manufacturing sector, stand-alone movie theaters mushroomed throughout Thailand during the 1960's and 70's. But by the early 1980's, construction of these movie megaliths slowed significantly, ending an 80-year run of architectural creativity in cinema form. Trends of the time were dictating multiple functions under one roof, catalyst to the scaled-down "mini-theaters" which began to open in department stores across the country. The marriage of department store and mini-theater was short lived, however, as the high-powered, high-consumption pact of multiplex theater and shopping mall grew to envelop the middle and high-end retail sector in all the major Thai markets. I don't think there's a single theater operating inside a department store anywhere in Thailand these days.
O.K Rama was a later model stand-alone theater; maybe one of the last to go up in Thailand before they started building them in department stores. Thai theaters that were built as part of residential/commercial plazas during the 1970's have a stand-outish quality compared to the surrounding buildings, captured most poignantly in the frequent use of imposing "brutalist" architecture. The O.K. Rama, however, is on the subtle side of design compared to the surrounding plaza, blending almost completely in with the adjoining buildings. A more humble look combined with the good condition of the plaza makes me think the O.K. Rama is a product of the early 1980's, right about when they stopped building stand-alone movie theaters. But I could be totally off the mark about that.
The O.K. was bought up by Thana Cineplex a number of years before it shut down, one of two theaters in Suphanburi operated by the medium-sized theater chain. The other was the Fa Siam. Had I been just one year earlier I would have had the chance to sit back and take in a flick at this late addition stand-alone movie theater. Now it's yet another empty void where there once was a neighborhood fun factory.