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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.

Jul 27, 2018

Does Having A Star With Millions Of Followers And Subscribers On YouTube And Social Media Guarantee That A Movie Will Be A Hit?

WE’VE TALKED to some producers before who were enthusiastic in getting so called YouTube sensations who they cast in their movies hoping it would help attract viewers. “Ang dami niyang followers sa YouTube at sa social media,” one producer told us, referring to a young actress who started with a reality show. “So pre-sold na yan. Maraming manonood sa movie niya.”

But as the producer knows by now, this is not what happened as their film project flopped. Another producer cast a YouTube sensation with allegedly a million subscribers to play one of the leads in not just one but in two of their movies. Sadly, both projects laid big fat eggs at the box office.

Another producer is so happy to cast another YouTube sensation with millions of followers in Instagram in a youth movie launching new actors. “More than 1 million ang followers niya sa Vlog niya,” she enthuses. But sadly, that one million followers didn’t show up at the theaters where her movie was shown.

This proves that it doesn’t mean that just because you are a celebrity on the online universe, who can create your own content that can go viral, then you’re also automatically be a sure gold mine on TV screens and at the movie theaters. In other words, the internet is not exactly the ideal launch pad for new celebrities who can branch out to movies or TV. YouTubers may be stars in their own right, like Moymoy Palaboy and U.S. based comedians Mikey Bustos and Jokoy, but they don’t necessarily branch out successfully into local mainstream entertainment venues. The fact remains na hanggang sa internet lang sila sikat.

The same goes for producers who think the internet can be a big help to promote their movies or TV shows. “Milyon-milyon ang hits niyan,” says one producer about a guy who they invite to their presscons and then posts the Q&A portions with stars on their sites. That may be true, but is it really an effective way of promoting their movies?

As one old timer in the industry says: “Yung mga nanonood sa internet, doon lang nila talaga gusto manood, sa cellphones nila. But they won’t go out of their way to dress up, go to a mall theatre and actually watch movies on the big screen. Magkaiba pa rin ang mundo ng internet at ng movies and television. Iba ang market at audience ng YouTube at iba rin ang sa movies at TV.”

So there. And it’s true. YouTubers and social media stars may have their own followers, but as of now, the stars of movies and TV remain to be more popular than them, even as idols who make their fans scream and as endorsers of various products.