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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.

Jan 9, 2021



THE BOX OFFICE TAKE of the two-week run of the Metro-Manila Filmfest amounts to a measly P31 million. 

This is certainly so sad. Imagine, the total of what all the ten full length film entries earned is just a drop in the bucket compared to the usual earnings of past Metro Manila Film Festivals shown in actual movie houses that is almost about P1 billion!

P31 million is just the budget of one movie. We really can't help but pity our producers, specially those who spent so much for their respective projects, like Brightlight Productions whose budget for "Magikland" soared to P200 million because of its very extensive and expensive CGI special effects. 

None of them would be able to recover their investments from the recent festival. Their only hope to earn a bit more is if they could sell their ancillary rights to TV networks or international streaming services like Netflix or iFlix for a higher fee. 

As for the ranking, we're told that "Fan Girl", the best picture, best actress, best actor, best director winner, remains on top. This is followed by "The Boy Foretold by the Stars" (the second best picture winner), "Mang Kepweng: Lihim ng Bandanang Itim", "The Missing" and "Pakboys Takusa". Sadly, none of the drama entries made it to the top five.

This only proves that Filipino viewers are definitely not just ready to pay for first run movies they can watch via streaming. We're not surprised, though, since almost all stars can now be seen FOR FREE on their youtube channels or vlogs. 

And there are also other contents, like K-pop shows so popular now, that they can watch on the internet all at no extra cost.  

It is only in more developed countries with good and extensive wifi connections that streaming on Netflix or Amazon or HBO can get their target audiences. But for a third world country like us, people would prefer not to shell additional money that they can set aside for food or other more important things so essential in their impoverished lives.

Some producers, we are told, are releasing their films in areas where theaters are allowed to open, like in nearby towns and suburbs where restrictions are less strict. But will moviegoers be enticed to go back to the theaters? We doubt it. 

Many folks are still scared to go out, specially now that there's a new virus strain that is said to be going around. This is the same reason why the restaurant business is also badly affected and many eateries have closed down.

We really sympathize with and are so afraid for our local film industry. There are many movies that have already been completed and awaiting release but they'd rather wait and sit it out until we live again in a truly safe environment where people are not afraid to go out.