14 Jun - Thailand's mega theatre operator Major Group has launched its "i-Tail Pet Cinema" on 10 June, enabling cinemagoers to bring their pets to their favourite movies.
Three of their cinemas, Mega Cineplex Megabangna, EastVille Cineplex, and Major Cineplex Robinson Ratchapruek, have now allowed pets to be brought to their viewings, though only on weekends.
"A fluffy white cat in a yellow dress is perched on the top of a theater seat while nearby, a Chihuahua in a Sebastian the Crab costume geared up to watch Disney's "The Little Mermaid" with their owner. One terrier even channeled Ariel in a red wig and mermaid's tail. They were among dozens of four-legged filmgoers that arrived in strollers on Saturday for the opening of Thailand's first pet-friendly cinema on the fringes of the capital Bangkok," according to AFP.
It is noted that there are rules to follow, including the pet being over four months old, healthy and vaccinated, as well as not weight more than 15kg. They must also wear diapers and sit in a specialised bag provided by the theatre.
Mano, 37, had brought his rescue cat, Kati, to the cinema.
"We take him to work sometimes... today is like an experiment," he said. "We are seeing 'The Little Mermaid.' He will enjoy seeing all the fishes on the screen."
"Bangkok is not a very pet-friendly city," Major Cineplex spokesman Narute Jiensnong, told AFP, adding that the concept built on their child-friendly theaters.
Narute noted some pets acquired during the pandemic suffer separation anxiety now that owners are no longer working from home or in lockdown.
"In the kid cinemas, kids will be running around screaming or shouting. ... I think pet cinema will be the same. Everyone who comes will own a pet and be understanding (if dogs bark)," he said.
Despite the cinemas' animal welfare safeguards, it is noted that not all pet owners are happy, with one saying that the concept of "being zipped up" in a cage is unnatural seeing how her cat would fall asleep next to her on the couch when they watch a movie at home.
"It's so ridiculous dogs are not allowed in (most Bangkok) parks but they can go to a movie. What comes next, you bring your dog or cat to a massage parlour?"