Thai military's PR efforts now include free movie tickets and World Cup screenings


Thai soldiers sing and entertain people at Victory monument in Bangkok, June 5, 2014.



OK so it was a coup, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends. Or so the Thai military appears to be saying. 

In its latest attempt to make nice after throwing out the civilian government on May 22, the Thai military is giving away free tickets to a patriotic movie and also trying to set up free screenings of World Cup games.

The film, "The Legend of King Naresuan Part V," is showing this weekend and tells the story of King Naresuan the Great who ruled Thailand from 1590 until 1605.

Prequels to the film, which leans heavily on nationalistic themes of self-sacrifice, were some of the highest-grossing films in Thai box office history, according to Reuters.

"We need Thais to understand sacrifices made by monarchs in the past, the sacrifice of Thais and the unity of Thais in the past," army spokesman Winthai Suvaree told media.

"So Thais today will have love and harmony after many years of political divisions."

And just in case that doesn't work, there's always soccer.

According to Al Jazeera, the junta had requested permission to broadcast the entire World Cup for free, but will likely only be able to show 22 of the 64 matches, given a court ruling Wednesday that said the company holding the broadcast rights could restrict more than half of the matches to satellite TV.

The soccer and the movie fit nicely into the military's "Return Thailand to Happiness" campaign, which has so far included free music concerts and food festivals, among other pleasantries.

Those weren't quite enough, it seems, to cancel out the army's previous attempts to ban public protests, censor the media and summon hundreds of politicians, activists and academics for questioning.