Jim Patterson is the man who brought IMAX, the world’s most incredible cinematic experience to Thailand and just last month he presided over the move of Bangkok’s IMAX theatre from Ratchoyothin to the new Siam Paragon shopping complex.

The typical ratio of theatre space to lobby is 7 square metres to 1 square metre, but the Siam Paragon is 3:1, as the lobby area is very large. There are 15 theatres, a big convention centre, bowling alleys and a state-of the-art aquarium (bigger than Sentosa in Singapore). It was designed as Thailand’s premier entertainment complex at a standard not yet witnessed in Thailand. The move makes the IMAX theatre much more accessible to the expat community and to visitors, and that should help Major’s business.

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There’s a huge difference in the 35-mm movie business in Thailand compared to a decade ago, and the movie theatres that Major Cineplex offers are second to none. But there are still the perennial problems of limited selection of 35-mm films and the same films being shown over and over again. “It’s strictly due to economics, it’s not due to any kind of restrictions,” Jim says, speaking of the 35-mm market in Thailand. “The Thais are a difficult market to play for, just because a 35-mm film does well in North America, doesn’t mean it will succeed here. Thais like action and story films. Exhibitors have been burnt in the past trying to show non-mainstream films and they learned, so they tend to take a less risky path, and they release films that are likely to be well received by Thai audiences. But that’s starting to change and as they increase the numbers of 35-mm cinemas here, there’s a chance that films with a limited appeal will start to be seen more. Remember, the Thais love to talk and if their friends give a film a bad review, they won’t see it and it will die quickly.”

Part of Jim’s niche is promotional partnerships and putting together programs for IMAX with other companies. For example, Panasonic sponsors the IMAX theatre here in Bangkok and DIGI, a mobile phone server, does the same in Kuala Lumpur (another IMAX theatre Jim launched). The new IMAX theatre at Siam Paragon will involve partnerships with several large Thai companies, which will be the biggest promotion program ever with an entertainment venue in Thailand. About four or five companies will be involved in co-promotions whereby they will receive benefits such as signage, space, branding, above the line marketing, below-the-line promotions, screen time and cross-promotions with other name companies. With a projected three million people visiting Siam Paragon next year, a large number of people will obviously see these promotions.

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As Jim says, “The IMAX Experience puts you ‘in’ the picture. With breathtaking, crystal clear images projected on specially designed screens and exhilarating sound provided by state-of-the-art digital sound systems, audiences feel part of the action.. The film format used by IMAX (15/70) is ten times larger than a conventional 35mm film. The sheer size of a 15/70 film frame, combined with the unique IMAX projection technology, is the key to the extraordinary sharpness and clarity of films exhibited in IMAX theatres.”

IMAX has had great success recently converting Hollywood blockbuster films into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with its new IMAX DMR (Digital Re-Mastering) technology. To date, the company has digitally re-mastered eight event films including Apollo 13, Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Matrix 2 & 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Spider-Man 2, The Polar Express, and Robots. The positive consumer response and strong box office returns of these films in IMAX theatres has driven international growth of the IMAX theatre network which now covers 35 countries.

The remainder of the 2005 film slate includes Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and a second holiday run of The Polar Express. The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience was the world’s first Hollywood feature converted into IMAX 3D and has already grossed $45 million on fewer than 85 IMAX screens worldwide.

Outside of his work with IMAX, Jim has been involved in the Masters in Marketing (MIM) Program at Thammasat University for the last 13 years. The school has won a number of different competitions for giving business plans on to how to bring new products into the marketplace. The competitions they enter are sort of like the Olympics of Business and Marketing Schools accumulating at the “Moot Corp” competition in Austin Texas. Dating back to Tasman Smith’s passion, the head of the program for many years, Thammasat has been committed to being world-class competitive in these competitions by bringing in good professors and recruiting good advisors from the local marketplace. Jim is proud of the fact that a few years ago they won first place in the world and this year have already won both regional competitions and recently first and third place in the world competition in Austin Texas.

The Thai students who participate in the competition are not scared to think outside the box. Jim cites an example a few years back when a team from Thammasat dressed up as ‘Foambusters’ (most presenters are dressed in a suit and tie) to illustrate how their product minimized waste. They lowered a Styrofoam Casper the Friendly Ghost into their product, quickly dissolving the Styrofoam and mesmerizing the judges.

Jim has spent endless hours tutoring Thammasat students in sessions he calls ‘Sundays with Jim’. Jim’s only condition is that the students have a commitment to excel and with his help, they usually do. His payback: gratitude. Jim says the gratitude of his Thai students is overwhelming.

Jim has been here in Bangkok for close to 14 years now, and the subject of getting a quality education is near and dear to his heart. Both his daughters graduated from the New International School of Thailand (NIST), and Jim was a former School Board President of that school. They both then went on to attend the University of British Columbia (UBC) with full scholarships and advanced placement (meaning the International Baccalaureate program they completed at NIST was fully recognized by UBC). The eldest, Amanda, graduated this year with a degree in Commerce, while the youngest, Jacqueline, is in her second year at UBC. Jim says raising his kids in Thailand has been a huge advantage, both socially and academically. They have a much better understanding of different cultures and religions.

Jim’s good works make him an example of a Canadian who has come here and not only been successful financially but successful on a personal and moral front as well. From helping with his daughter’s school to tutoring students at Thammasat to providing education and training for those who wouldn’t normally receive it, Jim’s a fine example of the Quiet Canadian.

(Sadly Jim Patterson passed away in August 2016).

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REMEMBERING DIAMOND JIM PATTERSON

Canadian-born, Jim Patterson lived in Thailand for 25 years. He was in the entertainment business and a senior director with Major Cineplex, running numerous projects including bringing the Canadian-made IMAX theaters to Thailand and the region. His latest and most unusual project was the Embassy Diplomat Screens. Located in Central Embassy these cinemas are unique globally. Though not a Major Cineplex project, Jim as Managing Director, and Brian Hall, another Canadian, set up the all VIP-screen project with bed seats, large luxurious lobbies, fine food and unrivaled highly personalized butler service.

Jim touched everyone he met and his sense of humour and showmanship shone through even at the end of his life as he made sure popcorn was served at his funeral. Jim led a great and fulfilling life; an admitted contest junkie, he advised many students in Thammasat University’s MMA Moot Court competition. We thank the Patterson family with providing us with the following memory of Jim.

From buying an MG at 16, to touring as an opening act with Ike and Tina Turner, scuba diving with great whites and spontaneously driving from Europe to India, Jim Patterson lived without regret. He was a risk taker who often succeeded and because of his demeanor, gained the nickname 'Diamond Jim'.

Jim's nature was to accept everyone without judgment and encouraged us all to live life to the fullest. The Pattersons believed in adventure, starting off in Vancouver, then on Maui for 7 years and finally to Thailand, which truly became home. He spent the last 25 years living in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Lena. They have 2 daughters who also call Bangkok home but currently live Stateside. Bangkok was always where Jim felt the most relaxed, which is ironic given how stressful a city it can be.

He truly did live life to the fullest and the family spoke often over the past year about how content he felt with what he was able to achieve in the last 70 years. He travelled the world and taught his family how to develop a deep love for travel and great food. Spending time in Africa on Safaris or water rafting in Costa Rica, there was never a dull moment. Full of adventure, laughter and so much love.

Jim Patterson was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to his bones in June 2015. He fought until August 2016. In the time span of that one year, Jim travelled with his daughters to Kenya, with the family to Bali, had the girls come to Thailand with his grandchild three times and took two trips to San Francisco himself. During this year, Jim was able to see his grandson walk and dance for the first time. There was so much joy in a year that could have been just about pain. Cancer is an evil, often fast-acting disease that one would not wish upon anyone. In spite of cancer, however, the Pattersons spent a great amount of quality time together. When looking back on this last year, they will take pleasure in all the moments that they were able to spend together as a family.

Jim was a monumental part of the Patterson's close-knit family and they will all miss him every single day for the rest of their lives.

The Pattersons 240dpi most important foto

                                        The Patterson family.

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