Jakarta. The head of the Creative Economy Agency, or Bekraf, said he expects the number of cinema screens in Indonesia to double over the next few years, amid growing interest in the national film industry.
"We expect to see at least 3,000 screens – twice what we have today. This is because local films thrive in small towns, but that's also where we face a lack of theaters," Bekraf chairman Triawan Munaf told reporters on the sidelines of the World Conference on Creative Economy in Nusa Dua, Bali, last week.
According to the agency's 2019 Creative Economy Outlook, there are currently nearly 1,700 screens across the country. Triawan expressed hope that this could be nearly doubled over the next three years.
The report further states that film is currently the fastest-growing subsector of Indonesia's creative economy.
However, as imported films still drive demand among moviegoers, the industry must figure out how to get local films to compete with those from abroad in terms of screening and scheduling.
Triawan said the national film industry is growing rapidly, as illustrated by the fact that 40 percent of films screened in the country are local.
This year, teen drama "Dilan 1990" attracted more than 6.3 million viewers nationwide, making it the second best-selling Indonesian film of all time after the 2016 reboot of the popular 1980s comedy franchise, "Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 1," which boasted more than 6.8 million viewers.
The number of moviegoers in the country has meanwhile also increased to more than 42 million by 2017 from around 16 million in 2015.
More screens in other parts of the country can therefore facilitate this growth, as 183 of Indonesia's 488 theater complexes are located on Java Island, Bekraf said.
Cineplex 21, CGV Cinemas and Cinemaxx currently dominate the movie theater industry in Indonesia with 1,003, 275 and 203 screens, respectively.
In her speech at last week's conference in Bali, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati also highlighted the importance of more vocational training to support the creative economy, of which the film industry is part.
Despite the large number of moviegoers, many of them are less enthusiastic about local films because there are limited choices in terms of storyline and variety, which shows that there is a need for more quality screenwriters.
"Indonesia has huge potential when it comes to writers and screenwriters, and this is an area we must explore further," the minister said.
Sri Mulyani also said that she was keen to learn more about the creative economy and how she could assist in its development.