When the Philippine motion picture industry celebrates its long-running history by holding film festivals of the studios’ latest movies, they pull no punches. For a week or more, only the films participating in the film fest of the time are shown in Philippine cinemas, with foreign movies briefly exiled from anywhere but 3D and IMAX theaters. Two major film fests in the country go this far in exclusivity, one in August and another in December. The latter is of course the storied Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), the 2018 edition of which is still ongoing as of now. And the organizers estimate they are on target for total box-office gross.
ABS-CBN News has it that the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival will be sure to have its participating movies earn a combined P1 billion or more in the box office for the duration of the festival. This forecast was given by MMFF executive committee spokesperson Noel Ferrer on Thursday, January 3. “Despite the rains, we are very happy to say that a large part of the Filipino audiences have gone back to the theaters again this holiday season,” read from the MMFF committee’s official statement.
Further details from the statement reveal that the 2018 film fest has actually already surpassed the box-office earnings of the 2017 edition for Christmas and New Year. However, not only were no exact figures named, but the wording was vague on whether it meant only the box-office takes from December 25 and January 1, or the one-week period between them. This follows the same pattern from when the MMFF committee made the same report back in the 2017 holidays, with “new records” being set but no actual monetary figures given. What is definitely known however was that the 2015 MMFF was the first to break the P1 billion total box office gross, and that has been the benchmark ever since.
While seeing no real numbers in earnings is frustrating, this is actually part of the Metro Manila Film Festival regulations, with the participating movie studios being sworn to press silence on how much their respective entries are doing. There are eight 2018 MMFF feature-length movies in total for consideration, divided into two batches. Batch 1 has “Fantastica”, “Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles”, “Aurora” and “The Girl in the Orange Dress”. Batch 2 in turn has “Otlum”, “One Great Love”, “Rainbow’s Sunset” and “Mary, Marry Me”.
“We are looking forward to more and more people watching all the MMFF entries until January 7, and it is significant to note that there have been additional theaters where you can catch the films of your choice,” concluded Ferrer’s MMFF update. “Let’s all carry on to the P1B mark!”
Image courtesy of Rappler