MANILA — “Spider-Man: No Way Home” could have been released in the Philippines as early as December 15, the same time as the US, according to an official of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer mentioned the Marvel flick in the January 7 episode of his radio program “Level Up Exclusives,” coinciding with the festival’s conclusion.
“Truth be told, ‘Spider-Man’ had the chance to be shown December 15 pala. But the producers wanted, dapat daw Christmas. Kung hindi Christmas, after na lang ng MMFF,” he said.
Ferrer was discussing the apparent blame put on the MMFF for the delay of “Spider-Man’s” release here. The third installment in the Tom Holland trilogy is scheduled for release in the Philippines on January 8.
Had the superhero movie debuted locally prior to the MMFF, Ferrer surmised that its crowd draw would have significantly helped the festival, which saw a relatively low turnout of moviegoers amid the still-prevalent threat of COVID-19.
“If they took the December 15 slot, ‘yung katotohanan, baka nakatulong pa sa atin. They would have seen the trailers of the MMFF movies, number one. Number two, they would have built the confidence of the people to go to the cinemas. Pero hindi nila ginawa at sinisi tayo,” he said.
MMFF actors Christian Bables and Rans Rifol, who were Ferrer’s guests on Friday, shared similar sentiments.
“Malungkot na tayo ang nasisi. Nandito lang din naman tayo para ipakita ‘yung pinaghirapang films,” said Rifol, who won best supporting actress for her role in “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon.”
“Malungkot, at the same time, wala tayong control sa naiisip ng mga tao. Kahit paano, I’m really happy na marami pa rin namang nakapanood, and marami ring sumuporta pa rin,” she added.
Bables, who won best actor for his “Big Night” performance, meanwhile urged support for Filipino filmmakers, saying their talents match their foreign counterparts.
“Sinisisi ang MMFF kung bakit hindi naipalabas si Spider-Man. Ang sa akin, maraming Filipino filmmakers and artists na magagaling at kayang sumabay sa mga hinahangaan niyo sa ibang bansa.
“Please, give us a chance. More than anything else, ang kailangan ng industriya, natin ngayon, ng Filipino artists, ay suporta galing sa inyo. Kasi kung kaya niyong suportahan ang ibang bansa, baka naman kaya niyong i-extend iyon sa kapwa niyo Pilipino. Kasi ang dami pa nating puwedeng mai-offer. Suporta niyo na lang ang hinihingi, ang hinihintay, ang kulang,” he said.
Screen veteran John Arcilla, who won best supporting actor for his portrayal in “Big Night,” joined later in the episode. He pointed out that the low turnout in physical cinemas can be attributed to the pandemic.
“Kahit ako mismo, hirap na hirap akong himukin ang mamamayan na lumabas, dahil ‘pag may magkasakit, magi-guilty ako na isa ako sa mga nag-imbita sa kanila sa loob.
“I want to be honest. Half-baked ang aking pag-iimbita, kasi hindi ko maintindihan kung kailangan ba ako mag-imbita o hindi given na merong omicron,” he said, referring to the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant.
With “Spider-Man’s” weekend release — and amid the surging cases of COVID-19 — it remains to be seen whether Filipinos will troop to cinemas to finally see the action blockbuster, which is now the first film to make $1 billion at the box office in the pandemic era.