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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 16, 2018

What Are The Reasons Why Local Movies Are Flopping One After The Other Lately

LOCALLY PRODUCED movies have lately been flopping at the box office one after another. As one producer laments: “Walang mga taong nanonood sa sinehan.” Viva has had the most number of flops, from “Fangirl/ Fanboy”, “Mr. & Mrs. Cruz”, “Amnesia Love”, “Pambansang Third Wheel, “Squad Goals”, “Cry No Fear” to “The Maid in London”. Some of them were first day/last day when shown in mall theaters.

For Regal, their flops include “Mama’s Girl”, “My Fairy Tail Love Story”, “So Connected” and the recent “Walwal”. It’s good Viva has “Never Not Love You”, “Meet Me in St. Gallen” and “Sid and Aya” for blockbusters and Regal, “My 2 Mommies”.

For Star Cinema, their biggest flops are “Single/Single”, “Misyon: Marawi” and “Sa Panahon ng Halimaw” which lasted for only a couple of days and quickly went out of the theaters. Their other so-so releases are “Sin Island” and “DOTGA: Da One that Got Away”. But they have three releases that did pretty well: “Dalawang Mrs. Reyes”, “My Perfect You” and “Kasal”. All three reportedly earned P100 million plus each.

Of special interest among the flops are the youth movies “Squad Goals” and “Walwal” which their makers are hoping to be today’s answer to the hit barkada flick in the 80s, “Bagets”. Today’s millennial crowds simply didn’t find the new male stars being introduced in “Squad Goals” and “Walwal” to be attractive enough. And we can’t blame them as some of these guys don’t really have any K (karapatan) at all to do lead roles.

As a rule, producers don’t know the right formula to make a box office hit, but first and foremost, before they give a green light to any project, they should first answer the all important question: why would ordinary moviegoers want to watch this movie?

Tickets now cost anywhere from P250 to P280 at the box office. So what would make a regular wage earner want to shell out his hard earned money just to watch a particular movie? That kind of money can buy rice and “ulam” for his family.

Of course, it would be nice to have name stars in your cast. This is one reason why “Sid and Aya” worked. Both Dingdong Dantes and Anne Curtis are Class A stars and it’s their first time to be paired with each other so this proved to be an attractive come on for the viewers. But having big stars in your cast is not necessarily a guarantee that people will flock to your film. An example is “Luck at First Sight”, which starred Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla but laid a big fat egg at the tills.

Some indie movies are being made mainly for the arthouse market, which we should all admit, is a very limited one. Let’s face it, the average film goer doesn’t go to the theater to watch art or be informed, uplifted or get valuable insights about the human condition. They just want to watch escapist movies to be entertained and entertained and entertained.

It’s all very noble and laudable to do artistic movies with serious content about social relevance and the profundities of human existence, but be prepared for it to lay a big fat egg at the box office. If local viewers are just ready to support them, then the acclaimed films of such internationally award-winning filmmakers as Brillante Mendoza and Lav Diaz could have all made a killing at the tills.

Two local film festivals are coming one after another this month of August. First is Cinemalaya which has 12 new movies, followed by Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino which has 8 new films. Let’s just hope that local moviegoers will be kind and support all of them.