by Nickie Wang
Last week I visited an ice cream shop in SM North Edsa and passed by the busy area where the cinemas are. While finding my way in a crowded place, I noticed some Sa ‘Yo Lamang movie posters hanging on the ceiling. These posters were plastered with a short message: “P100 only.” I inquired and was told that the movie ticket is being sold almost half the original price.
That strategy, which appeared to be more of a bait if not a desperate move to lure moviegoers, instantly gave me the impression that Star Cinema’s family-oriented flick already failed at the box office. The message couldn’t have been more attractive if there was a catchphrase like win a date with one of the cast members, Enchong Dee or Shaina Magdayao perhaps.
The movie that is publicized as a wholesome silver screen entertainment banked on its powerhouse cast that includes Lorna Tolentino, Christopher de Leon, Diether Ocampo, Coco Martin, Zanjoe Marudo, Empress Schuck, Miles Ocampo, Lauren Young, and Bea Alonzo. It has an impressive cast indeed but what about the story? Very simple, it revolves around a Filipino family laden with issues and hardships. Well, it’s hardly new and given the fact that it features an all-star cast as its strength, it is the same weakness that makes it less appealing. Laurice Guillen, who also directed Tanging Yaman, treated this film as if she’s recreating the 10 year-old movie that centers on family values and Catholicism.
Since its premiere on Sept. 1, Sa ‘Yo Lamang’s cumulative three-week gross already reached P43.75 million (according to Box Office Mojo, which is much more reliable than the press releases of movie outfits) but it still pales in comparison to the previous motion pictures that Star Cinema released including: Miss You Like Crazy, P143.25 M; Here Comes the Bride, P116 M (a co-production with OctoArts Films and Quantum Films); Babe, I Love You, P96.34 M (co-produced with Viva Films); and Paano Na Kaya, P82.25 M.
2010 local top-grossing flicks
In a matter of three months, we will be treated (or should we say forced to watch) to locally-produced movies. Thanks but no thanks to the annual Metro Manila Film Festival. But before we move forward, let’s take a quick look on the movies that justified the phrase return of investment.
The romantic drama Miss You Like Crazy, topbilled by John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, is this year’s box office winner followed by runner-up Here Comes the Bride starring Eugene Domingo and Angelica Panganiban. The third honor goes to a film co-produced by GMA Films and Regal Films and stars reel and real life couple, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes. The film titled You to Me Are Everything earned P102.42 M. Former flame Sam Milby and Anne Curtis reunion movie Babe, I Love You lands at no. four and it’s followed by Kimerald’s Paano Na Kaya.
Out of the top five is Hating Kapatid of Sarah Geronimo and Judy Ann Santos. The film produced by Viva came short with P81.97 M earning. Meanwhile, Richard Gutierrez, Anne Curtis, and Claudine Barretto starrer In Your Eyes is far at no. seven. Its cumulative earning during its five-week run in the movie houses is P62.59 M, which is still a far cry to its publicized P70 M first week gross.
Five-episode film Cinco gave Star Cinema another P61 M earning. Th psychological horror flick ranks no. eight this year. Secured in the ninth position is Sa ‘Yo Lamang (eventhough it’s still being screened) while Gabby Concepcion’s comeback film that also stars daughter KC and Jericho Rosales, experienced a lukewarm reception with P42.2 M ticket sales.
While most films mentioned scored double-digit revenue, big budget Emir (a joint venture of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Film Development Council of the Philippines with Viva Films) appears to be the biggest loser on the tills this year. The Philippines’ first full-length movie musical earned roughly 10 percent of its production budget of P30 M. It’s disappointing P3.1 M gross was not enough for the talent fee of all the actors that were flown to Morocco where majority of the scenes were shot.
Other films that did not make the top 10 list of the highest earning local films this year are: Working Girls, P32.32 million (GMA Films and Viva Films co-production); Regal Films Mamarazzi, P21.27 million (the film is still showing and currently on its 5th week); and Noy the Movie, P9.94 M (CineMedia and Star Cinema co-production).
Although a certified flop, Noy takes the shot of breaking the bane of Judy Ann’s Ploning and the independently-released Dead na si Lolo, which both failed to be shortlisted in Oscar’s Best Foreign Language Film category.
Or actually “now showing” is another Star Cinema flick called I Do, which might be inspired by the acclaimed 2006 French romantic comedy of the same title. In the latter, the groom can’t find his perfect match since he is not into a serious relationship. In Star Cinemas version, on the other hand, the groom (Enchong Dee) already has his perfect match it’s just that he is Chinese and tradition says he cannot marry the girl (Erich Gonzales) he impregnated.
If yesterday’s queue at the box office wouldn’t be the same in the coming days, then don’t be surprised if there will be discounted ticket promos hanging on the ceiling outside the movie houses.
Bottom line is: quality films don’t lower their ticket price; sometimes it’s even hard to get sure seats even in expensive multiplexes where they are being exhibited. And of course, admit it or not, the success of every movie relies heavily on its performance at the box office, positive critical reception is just a consolation.