by Nickie Wang
A swarm of local films hit all movie theaters last month due to the annual Metro Manila Film Festival. That gave us an additional eight mainstream movies and five additional independent films to the 74 full-length features previously released in 2010. Twelve of these 87 movie titles now are from Star Cinema and 58 of them are independently-produced.
The movie industry survived this year because of its so called last lifeline—the indie movies. And yet, these pictures that were shot in a few days with a considerably meager budget, generally do not generate return of capital investment. Of course nobody would want to waste money and effort in a film that will not produce revenue. But why do they still make indie films since most of them are exhibited only in select theaters and patronized by a very small number of moviegoers? Simple, they say it’s a form of art, and art films only appeal to those who understand whatever message the filmmaker would like to send across. For now, let’s leave it to them, and just cross are fingers that one day, these kinds of movies would eventually make it big in the tills.
Indie films, however, are not the only ones that suffered investment loss. Viva Films’ Emir, the first original Filipino full-length musical was a blockbuster flop considering its 30-million-peso production value (some publicities even claimed that it wasted almost P70 million). The first Filipino movie to use the state-of-the-art Red camera that ends the era of grainy picture quality is fully-orchestrated movie musical in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. But amid its state-of-the art equipment, why did earn only P3.1 million pesos?
It’s not that local moviegoers are not ready yet to watch a locally-crafted movie musical. It all lies still on the quality of storyline and artistic execution, and not with the cinematography alone.
There are films that did not suffer the same disappointing fate of Emir but definitely they were snubbed by the public. Let’s already include MMFF entries Father Jejemon, Rosario, RPG Metanioa and Super Inday and the Golden Bibe in the tragic roster that already listed Regal Films’ Working Girls, Mamarazzi, and White House. They will not surpass the 30 million peso mark considering their current gross. The festival ended last Friday as well and it’s difficult for them to keep up with the other entries that already exceeded P100 million ticket sales like Si Agimat at Si Enteng Kabisote and Ang Tanging Ina. Even if these pictures would be extended for another week or so, they will still fail. With RPG Metanoia, it could have earned more had Star Cinema released it on a different date.
Well, if there are films moviegoers intentionally snubbed, there are films that appeared well-loved. The comedy drama My Amnesia Girl top-billed by John Lloyd Cruz and Toni Gonzaga is 2010’s box office winner with P144.8 M worth of ticket receipts. It is followed by another John Lloyd starrer (with Bea Alonzo), Miss You Like Crazy. The romantic drama earned P143.25 M at the tills. The other film that breached the 100 million peso mark is Here Comes the Bride with P116 M box office gross. The motion picture is a co-production between OctoArts Films and Quantum Films. Another one is Viva Films’ Petrang Kabayo starring Vice Ganda, the remake of the Roderick Paulate classic posted P115.5 M earning. Bubbling up are movies that almost hit the elusive mark, they are Babe, I Love You, P96.34 M (a co-production between Star Cinema and Viva Films), and Paano Na Kaya, P82.25 M, also from Star Cinema.
Those not mentioned definitely did well, but their gross earnings are not enough to call them blockbuster films.
Regulating foreign concerts
Music enthusiasts were extremely thrilled when they heard that big foreign music acts like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Bruno Mars are set to stage a concert in the country. As a matter of fact, the tickets to Swift concert on Feb. 19 at the Big Dome are already sold out.
This news triggered pop diva Kuh Ledesma to call on the government and lawmakers for the immediate regulation of concerts by major international artists because she believes that they have a direct impact on the local concert circuit.
In an interview on TV Patrol, Ledesma insinuated that proper authorities must make an immediate move to protect the interests of Filipino artists who are being challenged by concerts staged by international acts (by the way, Bruno Mars has Filipino lineage, his mother is pure-blooded Filipino). She furthered that February (considered as the Valentine’s month) and summertime are considered concert season for local artists and the presence of foreign acts will greatly affect the number of attendees to their concerts.
Ledesma dropped this statement while she is promoting a major concert slated in February. The show will feature the now defunct Pilipinas Win na Win Hitmakers Rico J. Puno, Marco Sison, Dr. Nonoy Zuñiga, and Rey Valera.
It’s easy to understand the sentiments of Ledesma and all the local artists that will only benefit from the spillover from international concerts. But the issue will still arrive at the point that Filipino concertgoers are looking for quality entertainment. Why would they watch local artists who sing foreign song if they can just pay more and watch the original artists, who are apparently foreign musicians? Let’s not deprive Filipinos to see great entertainment, after all they wouldn’t crave for foreign musicians if they see quality songs and quality acts from our own backyard.
Top-rating TV pilots in 2010
I have mentioned before that television ratings is always a tug-of-war since there are only two major players that battle it out to claim the biggest slice in the viewership pie graph. But with the aggressive stance of TV5, television landscape is slowly changing, we can expect for a three-way battle in the nearest future, that is if advertisers would continue believing that their investments are safe with Manny Pangilinan-run station.
For the meantime, before the previous year ended AGB Neilsen and TNS Kantar Media released their own list Top 10 highest-rating pilot episodes of primetime TV shows for 2010.
According to AGB Nielsen People Ratings among Mega Manila households, these are top three: 1. Survivor Philippines Celebrity Showdown (GMA),18.2 percent ratings; 2. Endless Love (GMA), 15.8 percent; and 3. Noah (ABS-CBN), 15.2 percent. Meanwhile, according to Kantar Media, conducted among National households, these are the frontrunners: 1. Noah (ABS-CBN), 39.9 percent; 2. Agua Bendita (ABS-CBN), 37.7 percent; and 3. Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo (ABS-CBN), 36.4 percent.
Note, on TNS’ list only one Kapuso show made it to the top 10, which is The Last Prince (it actually landed on the 10th spot, the rest are occupied by Kapamilya shows). While on AGB’s data, five came from ABS-CBN and the other five came from GMA-7.
There have been so many debates on which of these television viewership data provider is more reliable. Let’s just refer to the advertising loads and the revenues these TV stations get from them. So, would that leaves us with ABS-CBN as the current leader? Yes, for now.