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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 13, 2016

The Sad Fate At The Box Office Of Indie Films Like 'Magtanggol' And 'Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako'

TWO LOCAL FILMS opened simultaneously last Wednesday: “Magtanggol” (about OFW’s and their families starring Tom Rodriguez, Ejay Falcon, Denise Laurel) and “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako” (about a gay love story starring Edgar Allan Guzman and Nora Aunor). Sadly, hindi sila pinagtanggol at minahal ng viewers. We really want to watch them but, on opening day, we were told at the mall where we tried to watch them that the screenings of “Magtanggol” were deferred since no one is watching it.

As for “Pare”, it was being shown on a staggered basis, alternating with a Hollywood release. It was scheduled for a later screening hour, so we didn’t get to watch it anymore. When we tried to watch it again a couple of days later, we were told that, just like “Magtanggol”, it has already been pulled out due to bad box office performance.

We feel so sad for these local films, considering that the Hollywood releases being shown along with it got no less than three theaters each in the mall chain we went to. And to think these are both sequels: “The Conjuring 2” and “Now You See It Now You Don’t 2”.

Somehow, the producers of these local films are to be blamed. They spend money on producing their films, then they keep it a secret to the public. Siegfried Sanchez, the director of “Magtanggol” who felt so frustrated with what happened to his movie, admitted that “Magtanggol” had marketing and promotional problems as there were no TV ads, no write ups in newspapers and magazines, and even on social media.

These days, only movies of Star Cinema are promoted well because it's the film arm of ABS-CBN and they have Channel 2 to show their ads all the time. Their stars can also promote their releases freely on their various TV shows, like "ASAP", "Showtime", etc. As for Regal and Viva, both of whom still produce local movies, they have to pay the networks to show trailers of their releases, and the fees for this can be quite exorbitant. Lesser producers, especially of indie films, would have to resort to and invent other means of promoting their movies to entice the public to watch their works. Otherwise, what happened to “Magtanggol” and “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako” will also surely happen to them.