The musical "Ang Larawan" has been pulled from some cinemas with consent from its producers, confirmed Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2017 spokesperson Noel Ferrer.
The decision was made after seeing first-day sales with an agreement with mall owners that they will again screen it on January 1, Ferrer revealed in an interview on DZMM Tuesday.
He explained that the producers of "Ang Larawan" met with mall owners after the festival's opening day and have conceded that the movie may not have an audience in some areas.
Ferrer acknowledged that "Ang Larawan" is doing well at Rockwell and Vertis North cinemas, among others.
"Mayroon talaga extreme scenario na mismong mga producers ay makikita nila na, 'Ay, hindi namin market iyan.' Kaya ibinibigay na rin nila iyong mga theaters," he said.
He also reiterated that mall owners cannot remove entries without arriving at a mutual decision with producers.
Cinema distribution has always been a contentious point during the MMFF, with mall owners quick to shelve low-performing entries for crowd pleasers to take advantage of the holiday rush.
Ryan Cayabyab, whose music is used in "Ang Larawan," tweeted early Tuesday a list of malls that have removed their entry.
"Just saying. Thanks to everyone who supported the film. Meron pa rin namang ibang sinehan. Try to catch it!" he wrote.
Paulo Avelino, one of the film's stars, urged fans to post photos of their tickets to survey those who have actually seen it.
"Ang Larawan" is based on the play "A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino" by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, and features lyrics from Rolando Tinio.
It also stars Rachel Alejandro, Joanna Ampil, Robert Arevalo, Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, among others.
It got rave reviews when it premiered at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival last month, as well as from local critics following its MMFF debut.