Another method of marketing movies was through publications. From the pre-war days, Shaw maintained its own printing press called The Shaw Printing Works. This was to facilitate the printing of publicity materials and later, movie publications.
In Singapore, Shaw published film magazines in all four languages under the banner of 'The Chinese Pictorial Review Ltd'. The English language film magazine published by Shaw was the popular Movie News.
This 60-page monthly publication was sold in various cinema outlets throughout the Shaw circuit and featured coming attractions from Hollywood as well as Shaw Studios in Hong Kong. It also ran contests which had thousands of participants, some from as far away as Borneo.
Movie News was first published on July 1948 with the first issue going out on 5000 copies.
At 20 cents a copy, it was the cheapest entertainment magazine around. It was an immediate success, selling out in just 10 days.
By November's issue, 15,000 copies was printed. In the Federation, the magazine was so popular that a black market arose, with touts selling copies with a 25% mark-up. The success of the English language monthly prompted other film publications - the Malay version, 'Majallah Filem' and Indian one 'Indian Movie News'. By 1980, the circulation of Movie News was 30,000 copies in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. The magazines stopped in the late 1980s when foreign entertainment magazines dominated the market.
Yu Soo Chew of the Peking Opera Comapny met by B H Chua, 1959
From the pages of Movie News: patrons watching 'Baraka X77 for Secret Service' in a hall flooded by the monsoon rains, Lido, Kota Bahru, 1967
From the pages of Movie News: A girl faints during the screening of 'Curse of Frankinstein' in Singapore, 1957
Binding section, Shaw Printing Works, 1959
To cater to the Chinese market, a daily entertainment newspaper was published known as 'Yue Lok Poh'. This was edited by the head of Chinese Department, Mr B.H. Chua, and featured upcoming films to the Shaw circuit as well as entertainment news and gossip.
Another popular chinese language publication was the 200 page monthly magazine called Southern Screen which was published by Shaw Brothers (HK). The magazine was published from 1957 when Run Run Shaw took over the Hong Kong film production from Runde Shaw.
Southern Screen was a far more glossy effort than Runde's Screen Voice Pictorial film magazine. It covered upcoming films, stars, gossip and news coming out of the Shaw Studios at Clearwater Bay.
Southern Screen was read in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Macau, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Philippines, Australia, India, Korea, USA, South and Central America, Canada, Paris and England. Its average monthly circulation by the mid-sixties was 100,000 copies.
In 1966, Hong Kong Movie News, the second official publication of Shaw Brothers (HK) was launched. That same year, Life Magazine in America published a lavish spread on Shaw Studios with a feature article on studio management and the stars. Hong Kong Movie News ran for nearly two decades and was widely read by Chinese movie fans all over the world. Hong Kong Movie News ceased abruptly in the early 1980s when the Shaw Studios stopped its productions.