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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.

Dec 26, 2019


HERE’S THE INITIAL report on the box office standing of the eight official entries in the ongoing Metro-Manila Filmfest. As expected and as predicted by a lot of quarters, Vice Ganda’s “The Mall The Merrier” is in the numero uno position. He is followed by Coco Martin’s action-comedy, “3Pol Trobol, Huli Ka Balbon”, with Ai Ai de las Alas as Jennylyn Mercado as the second placer.

Following closely in third place is Aga Muhlach’s local adaptation of the hit Korean movie, “Miracle in Cell No. 7”. This is a very good box office showing for Aga after his two earlier comeback flicks, “First Love” with Bea Alonzo and “Nuuk” with Alice Dixson, both did badly at the tills. On the fourth slot is the heist action-comedy, “Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity”, starring Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza.

On the 5th slot is “Sunod”, the only horror flick entry in this year’s filmfest starring Carmina Villaroel and JC Santos. On the 6th slot is the drama about our Muslim brothers, “Mindanao”, for which Judy Ann Santos won the Cairo International Filmfest best actress award, opposite Allen Dizon. On the 7th slot is the period drama set in World War II about lepers, “Culion”, with Iza Calzado and Jasmine Curtis Smith.

The real cellar dweller is “Write About Love”, the only romantic-comedy in the festival with the unlikely pairing of Rocco Nacino and Miles Ocampo, plus Yeng Constantino and Joem Bascon. What’s even sadder is that the initial box office take of the entire filmfest is down by no less than 30 percent compared to that of last year.

This is not surprising as there was a typhoon called Ursula that hit Eastern Visayas on Christmas Day and all the theaters there were close. Also, the Abreeza Mall in Davao had cracks in its building and was also closed down. So there were also much lesser outlets this year.

Even in Metro-Manila, it was raining the whole afternoon on Christmas Day and it really poured hard in the evening, preventing people from going out to watch movies. Here’s hoping that the festival box office take will eventually pick up in the days to come, specially on New Year’s Day.