Mar 15, 2019

One of the local film industry’s more annoying and out of date policies is slating the premieres of local flicks on Wednesdays. It’s an awkward day of the week, smack in the middle, and a lot of movies aren’t able to amass a large enough audience to watch it. By Friday, some movies get plugged out of the cinemas because of poor ticket sales—which often isn’t the movie’s fault, but its schedule’s. Think about it: How often do you go out of your way to schedule a movie date on a Wednesday? How about a Thursday? Movie watching is more of a Friday or weekend night thing.

I’ll give you an example: In college, I watched Heneral Luna at SM Marikina a day after opening night after a lot of prodding from my friend. When we got to the cinema, there were only five other people there, and no one else came in after we did. And this is Heneral Luna, one of the biggest Filipino films to have come out this decade.

Last month, Erik Matti came out with a grim report on the local movie industry: Despite the abundance of fresh talent trying to revolutionize the scene, the industry itself is on “life support.” He elaborated about how none of the new releases that month did well enough at the box office, and that the recent Metro Manila Film Festival itself was a flop. Coming up short with reasons for the industry’s decline, he wrote: “All I know is, we cannot go on making movies where no one sees them.”

Many filmmakers came out of the wood work to have their say. Many reasons were thrown about, but the main thing that everyone pretty much agreed with is that the film industry lacks governmental support. Other film industries, like South Korea’s, are thriving right now precisely because they’re supported by the government. (Read: The PH film industry isn’t doing as well as South Korea’s. What gives?) And one example of this lack of support is how our local movies are still expected to stick to the traditional Wednesday premiere, despite so many people complaining about it over the years.

It seems now that the government is finally listening. The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) started holding conversations on how to improve the local movie business with their partner governmental groups and people from all sides of the film industry. FDCP chairperson Liza Diño-Seguerra said that the goal is to create new policies that will be “amenable to all our stakeholders.”

After Mar. 12’s meeting, the group decided that one concrete thing they could do is to move the premiere to a Friday instead. It’s a pretty good step because most moviegoers only start watching films in the cinema on a Friday, so this might greatly boost ticket sales.

However, there’s no set date yet for when the change will take effect. Diño-Seguerra noted that everything else must be finalized before they put it into practice. She also wrote that the group was “able to identify a lot of the gaps in the current status quo,” so hopefully there will be more concrete measures taken to give the film industry a big push forward.


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TAGS: erik matti Film Development Council of the Philippine film industry Liza Diño-Seguerra