TGIF: Box office woes prompt change in local movie release day


Posted at Mar 14 2019 05:24 PM

A local cinema is prepared to accommodate moviegoers in this file photo. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Philippine movie releases may soon switch days from Wednesday to the more lucrative Friday, amid concerns over the box-office draw of local productions.

The proposed change was a result of a March 13 dialogue among the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), producers, distributors, and theater owners regarding the exhibition of films in cinemas across the country.

In a statement, FDCP chairperson Liza Diño said the meeting helped identify “a lot of the gaps in the current status quo and ways to address them that would be beneficial to the parties concerned.”

One of the agreements, she said, is moving new releases to the weekend. (It’s unclear whether international titles will also enjoy a Friday opening once the plan is implemented.)

In the wake of filmmaker Erik Matti’s “plea for help” in early February amid what he referred to as the “dire situation” of the local film industry, pundits and fans alike suggested debuting movies on Friday, when most moviegoers troop to malls.

Some noted that under the traditional Wednesday release, films with weak audience draw would get pulled out of cinemas before the weekend, thus narrowing the chance of them being seen on days when more moviegoers are available.

FDCP chairperson Liza Diño poses with producers, distributors, and theater owners during a March 13 dialogue regarding the exhibition of films in cinemas across the country. Facebook: Liza Diño-Seguerra

Aside from the change of opening day, the dialogue also touched on “admission prices, guaranteed days in every booked film, and a holdback period for films released in cinemas before it goes to other platforms like VOD, etc.,” according to Diño.

Policy guidelines on these matters have yet to be finalized, but are “moving forward,” she added.

“More than reaching an agreement to the proposed solutions, my main takeaway from yesterday’s dialogue is the willingness of both parties (finally) to sit, talk, listen and accept each other’s sentiments calmly and in good faith,” Diño said in her statement on Thursday.

She went on: “The goal is to understand and acknowledge the concerns of both and work towards solutions. For so many years, nagkaroon ng divisiveness dahil kung saan-saang platform na nailalabas ang mga hinaing causing for parties to be villified without any recourse to verify these concerns in proper venues and to the people concerned mismo para mapakinggan ang pinanggagalingan ng bawat isa.

“But yesterday was a good gauge to see the next hundred years of Philippine cinema. A new beginning perhaps... so we can all be hopeful for the future of this industry. At the end of the day, we have but one common goal: to support, nurture and uplift our local film industry.”