LIGHT-hearted and humorous plotlines centered on true love with happy ending are the main themes of local films that dominated the box office in 2014.
Romantic comedies have a long history of doing well at the box office and this year is no exception. Out of 10 top-grossing films this year, eight movies were in the rom-com category.
Two of the films that made the elite list but did not follow the same theme were Star Cinema’s horror-comedy Da Possessed and horror-drama Maria Leonora Teresa. They raked in an estimated box office gross of P120 million and P72 million, respectively.
Star Cinema rules anew
Out of the top 10 top-grossing local films, seven films were from Star Cinema. Viva Films had three in the Top 10, two of which were in partnership with, of course, Star Cinema.
Rom-coms Starting Over Again, Bride For Rent, and She’s Dating the Gangster earned almost P1 billion worth of movie tickets, making them the top three local films released in commercial theaters.
The figure does not include what these films earned abroad. For instance, Starting Over Again starring Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga is the first non-MMFF movie to surpass the elusive P400-million mark. It earned an additional P78 million when it was screened in 52 theatres in the United States.
Local films are driving domestic box office of late but majority of the top grossers came from the same production house that has been dominating movie ticket sale for over a decade now. Hence, it is safe to say that mainstream cinema, yet again, failed to give moviegoers a memorable spread of movie entertainment.
Even Viva Films, which follows Star Cinema but with a very wide margin in terms of box office revenues, follow the same rom-com formula. Take for instance the James Reid and Nadine Lustre-starrer rom-coms Diary ng Panget: The Movie (P119 million) and Talk Back and You’re Dead (P76 million).
Although rom-coms earned big at the local tills, it’s good to note that Hollywood releases are still the clear favorites. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Transformers: Age of Extinction ruled the Philippine box office this year. They gave us a clear indication that a decent number of local moviegoers prefer well-crafted entertainment compared to formula films that Star Cinema offers.
Box office bombs
Granted that Star Cinema ruled the domestic box office due to its record-breaking films in terms of gross earning, the film outfit also released this year’s biggest box office disaster.
Sa Ngalan ng Ama, Ina at mga Anak is an action film featuring the Padilla clan with Robin Padilla and wife Mariel Rodriguez, Kapuso stars Kylie Padilla and Bela Padilla, and the so-called Teen King, Daniel Padilla.
According to Robin, the film had a big budget. It was shortlisted as a 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival entry but did not make the official list. The film was released on Jan. 29 and was pulled out in major theaters a few days later. The film outfit was too embarrassed about the films performance it couldn’t disclose how much it earned.
Another big-budget film that failed miserably at the tills is GMA Films’ Overtime. The suspense movie starring Richard Gutierrez and Lauren Young, earned only P1.03 million at the box office from July 9 to 13. We haven’t heard anything from the film or from publicist since then.
Overtime is the second movie for the Kapuso network in 2014 after Basement, which was a produced by Coffee House Productions and Springboard Film Productions. Basement’s earning was undisclosed.
Whether it’s a case of movie quality or simply a publicity failure, it’s hard to ignore how the movie version of Bob Ong’s best-selling book ended a big flop at the local tills. Even the star power of Jericho Rosales and Andi Eigenmann failed to turn the flick into a blockbuster. ABNKKBSNPLAko?! The movie earned a little less than P18 million despite an “A” rating from Cinema Evaluation Board.
Although it is safe to assume that local moviegoers are smitten with romance and comedy, Regal Films’ Somebody to Love failed to be a box office success. Its ensemble of cast (Carla Abellana, Matteo Guidicelli, Iza Calzado, Jason Abalos, and Maricar Reyes) didn’t help at all. It ended its commercial outing earning a measly P4.6 million.
Meanwhile, some indie films were released commercially after earning some accolades in indie film fest here and abroad. Since they were released in mainstream cinema houses, we have to gauge them as mainstream films. Too bad they flopped mostly because their concepts are too dense and too weird for mainstream audiences.
Octobertrains’ Dementia starring Nora Aunor and Jasmine Curtis-Smith earned P5.17 million, Spring Films’ Relaks, It’s Just Pag-ibig (the Iñigo Pascual debut) raked in just P4.95 million, Mumbai Love didn’t even reach half a million, and the multi-awarded The Janitor starring Dennis Trillo did not seem to earn at all as no figures are available.