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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.

May 29, 2021




DONDON MONTEVERDE says that his company, the Filipino streaming platform Upstream.ph, has inked an exclusive contract with Universal Pictures to bring the biggest Hollywood movies right in the comfort of your own home. 

This is a ground-breaking partnership and with this development, upstream.ph becomes the first Filipino live-streaming platform to have an unprecedented deal with Universal Pictures which means it is now home to global blockbuster movie franchises such as “Jurassic Park,” “Fast and the Furious,” “Despicable Me,” “Candyman,” “Minions,” “Halloween” and “Boss Baby,” among many others. 

It also shows Universal Pictures' vast library of existing films that have captivated audiences worldwide as well as upcoming film releases starring the biggest Hollywood stars from 2021 onwards to be part of upstream.ph's content. 

Dondon says: “We are truly honored to be the first and only Filipino portal to be trusted by Universal Pictures to stream old and new titles from their catalogue of blockbuster films. 

"This is timely because the pandemic has certainly imposed limitations on our activities and most of us find ourselves cooped up in our homes for safety.”

Here are some of upstream.ph's upcoming releases from Universal: “F9 or Fast and Furious 9,” starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel; “The Croods: A New Age,” starring Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds; “Let Him Go,” starring Diane Lane, Kevin Costner;

“Bios,” starring Tom Hanks; “The Bad Guys,” starring Awkwafina, Sam Rockwell, Craig Robinson; “ Last Night in Soho,” starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, and directed by Edgar Wright;

“Crisis,” starring Gary Oldman, Armie Hammer, Evangeline Lilly; “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” starring Steve Carell, Lucy Lawless, Julie Andrews; “The Forever Purge,” starring Ana dela Reguera, Will Patton, Josh Lucas;

“Nobody,” starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd; “Fatale,” starring Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter;

“ Old,” directed by: M. Night Shyamalan, based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle,” starring Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie;

“The Boss Baby: Family Business,” starring Ariana Greenblatt, James Marsden, Jeff Goldblum; “Echo Boomers,” starring Michael Shannon, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Alex Pettyfer;

“Land,” starring Robin Wright; “Promising Young Woman,” starring Carey Mulligan; “Girl,” starring Bella Thorne; “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” starring Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb;

“David Byrne's American Utopia,” directed by Spike Lee and starring David Byrne, Jacqueline Acevedo, Gustavo Di Dalva; and “Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical,” a live-action TV adaptation of the Broadway stage musical based on the Dr. Seuss classic "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

Aside from Hollywood blockbuster highlights from Universal Pictures and a vast array of genres from several local and international film productions, upstream.ph will also showcase the best and brightest Filipino filmmakers thru their original works under UPSTREAM ORIGINALS. 

So what’s the viewing public's reception to Upstream so far?

“Maganda naman ang reception ng Filipino audience,” says Dondon. “But nasa infant stage pa lang tayo in this kind of platform, so unti-unti, little by little gumaganda ang audience reception. We’re thankful that Universal saw that we’re fit to serve as their platform to show their movies.”

He admits the pandemic has badly affected the local film industry? 

“We’re not stopping to produce content now, but we producers are really wondering, kailan ba matatapos ang pandemic? Meantime, yung mga pelikula namin, di namin  maipalabas. It’s really a struggle. We hope vieiwers we’ll realize that sa streaming, you can watch right in the comfort of your homes and with your whole family with a payment of just P210. 

"Content is king, so we will come up with more attractions like the Manny Pacquaio fight, to train the audience to watch us on Uptream. It will also be an eye opener for other producers na puede silang magtiwala sa streaming platforms as an outlet for their movies and show.”

He believes that streaming is here to stay. 

“Eventually, babalik naman ang lahat, pati ang cinemas. But one of the learnings with the pandemic is that we really believe that Upstream is here to stay. 

"We’re looking for a good collaboration with the cinemas kasi marami namang gustong lumabas at manood sa sinehan when things go back to normal, but may market din naman for those who prefer to just stay and watch at home. 

"Kasi even abroad, after a couple of weeks, napapanood na rin ang movies nila via streaming. We’re partnering other producers magsama-sama, magtulungan so they can also show their content with us.” 

Upstream will show original content, the movie “A Guy & A Girl”, on June 24 starring new discoveries Rob Gomez and Alexa Miro, directed by Erik Matti who says it’s unlike any other movie he has made before in his entire career as it is so wild and should be rated R-18.