While cinema chains in many key markets including the U.S. — already pressured by the rise of streaming services — have struggled to attract patrons back to their padded seats following the lifting of COVID-19 curbs, in Southeast Asia it’s a far more promising picture: Local box office records are being set, filmmaking grants are being unveiled and large cinema chains are shifting into expansion mode.

Indonesia’s biggest cinema chain, Cinema XXI, went public in August, turning the company’s co-founder Benny Suherman into a billionaire, while Thai movie theater operators Major Cineplex Group and SF Corporation are plotting expansion, with the former targeting 10 new branches and up to 50 screens.

Southeast Asia’s cinema chains faced challenges of their own during the pandemic, but the current situation is in marked contrast to other Asian markets.