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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.

Feb 24, 2019

Sorry State Of Local Films: Viewers Prefer Watching Established Love Teams Than Unlikely Pairings

AFTER “ALONE TOGETHER” hit it big at the tills, some quarters quickly predicted “tapos na ang kamalasan ng local films since the year started na puro flop ang mga pelikulang ipinalalabas.” But they spoke to soon and this turned out not to be true. The movie’s success was just a fluke.

First it starred an established and popular love team known as LizQuen, which has a good track record of past hits at the box office. It’s also from the biggest local film company we have these days, Star Cinema, who has the machinery to show its trailer repeatedly on ABS-CBN shows. It likewise opened in time for Valentine’s Day and the Feb. 15 payday when people go out dating.

The movie confirmed that the moviegoing public is looking for stars and pairings that are already familiar to them. The local films shown recently have unlikely pairings, Xian Lim and Louise de los Reyes in “Hanggang Kailan” from Viva, Janine Gutierrez and Enchong Dee in “Elise” from Regal, Winwyn Marquez and Enzo Pineda in “Time and Again” and before that, Christian Bables and Cora Waddell in “Recipe for Love”. They have not been seen by the public together before even on TV. So what do you expect would happen? Their films quickly vanished from movie houses.

Regal Films used to be the biggest company in the land. They have their own stable of big stars known as the Regal Babies. Then the networks came to develop their own stars, but Regal stopped developing their own talents and just borrowed stars from the two networks for their own projects.

People who have illusions that they will revive the heydays of action films that used to be the bulwark of the local film industry should also wake up to the fact that we are now living in different times. The audience and its taste and sensibility have all changed, as shown in their avoidance of recent local actioners like “Bato, the Movie” and “Exit Point”.

If you can’t make action films that will rival the likes of the action superhero flicks from Marvel and DC Comics or the likes of Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible 6: Fallout” and Keanu Reeves’ “John Wick” films that have set a higher standard for the action genre, then don’t expect local moviegoers to be interested in watching your own action flicks that will surely pale in comparison.

Even the action flicks they now show on TV, like “Polar” with Mads Mikkelsen and “Close” with Noomi Rapace on Netflix, are definitely much better and more exciting to watch. Still and all, we hope we are wrong, as hope springs eternal, but sadyang hindi na maibabalik ang glory days ng action films noong araw when people were easier to please and not yet so demanding about the kind of films that they want to see.