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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.

May 26, 2018

The Reasons Why Movies Now No Longer Make Big Money As They Used To Do

HOW SAD that all movies that opened last Wednesday didn’t do well at the box office, including two local films (“So Connected” and “Citizen Jake”, which now have alternating screening hours with other movies) and even the big Hollywood release, “Solo, A Star Wars Story”. We’re told that another Hollywood flick, “Deadpool 2”, which was released the previous Wednesday and is currently the number one movie in the U.S.A., didn’t do as well as expected in local theaters.

It would surely seem obvious that local audiences are not in a mood to go watch movies in theaters these days. To begin with, the prices of movie tickets have become quite prohibitive. And it also so happened that the opening of the new movies this week coincided with the sudden increase in the prices of gasoline and other commodities.

Also, classes are opening soon, so parents are busy preparing to pay for the tuition fees of their kids, the purchase of school supplies, uniforms and other school requirements. And understandably, these thinks would take first priority over moviegoing.

Someone commented to us that another valid reason why movies are not making money like they used to is because they’re no longer as well promoted as before. In they heydays of local movies in th 70s and 80s, film companies would invite us to the story conference or first shooting day of their latest projects to make the public aware that this new movie is currently being shot.

Now, you ask a star what movie he’s doing and he’d say: “Bawal pa raw pong isulat, e.” Yes, they’ll make movies and keep it a secret then, about just one or two weeks before the playdate, they will call for a presscon for the stars to be interviewed. As such, the time for promotion is very limited. Movies are being shown without the public being fully aware of their existence.

Another factor that helped promote movies then was the fan magazine. There were more than 15 existing fan magazines in the 1980s. For GASI alone or Graphic Arts, they publish a total of 8 fan magazines each week that all help promote stories about stories and upcoming movies.

You could honestly say that the death of printed magazines somehow adversely affected the box office performance of upcoming movies. Now, the readers no longer need fan magazines to follow the latest events in the lives of their favorite celebrities because the stars themselves now post their very own stories and pictures in their social media accounts and anyone can access it for free. What they don’t know is that this cheapens them, with them losing their mystique as celebrities in the process.

And movie companies now rely so much more online. One network and movie company PR told us they invite blogsites with several thousands of views. The problem is: how many of those who view these sites will actually go to movie houses and buy tickets to watch films? We think that those who love browsing showbiz stories online just prefer to do that: browse online. But they don’t actually watch movies. Hanggang doon na lang sila sa panonood online.

Well, still and all, here’s hoping the local films opening this coming Wednesday would fare better at the box office, “Sid & Aya” starring Dingdong Dantes and Anne Curtis and “Panahon ng Halimaw”, the 4-hour Lav Diaz film starring Piolo Pascual.