MANILA, Philippines — Vice Ganda's movies have always been highly anticipated by most Filipinos come Christmastime.
And his latest feature with Coco Martin, "The Super Parental Guardians," proved no different, as it scored the highest-grossing opening day in local box-office history, thanks to a strong response by the comedian-TV host's fans.
The movie, about a tough-talking gang leader forced to take care of his orphaned nephews with a gay friend of his late sister-in-law, earned P75 million in ticket sales last Wednesday, trumping the reported record of P60.4 million set by "My Bebe Love," a Metro Manila Film Festival entry last year.
"Parental Guardians" is Vice Ganda's second movie with Martin, the star of the hit primetime series "Ang Probinsyano." The flick follows "Beauty and the Bestie," which holds the record for the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time after earning more than P520 million.
Joyce Bernal took the reins this time, following the passing of Vice Ganda's friend and blockbuster director Wenn Deramas, who helmed "Beauty and the Bestie."
"Parental Guardians" is also the debut film of child actors Simon "Onyok" Pineda and Awra Briguela.
A bit of controversy surrounded "Parental Guardians" after it was snubbed by the selection committee for this year's Metro Manila Film Festival, forcing Star Cinema to release it in cinemas earlier than planned.
The committee's head, Nicanor Tiongson of the University of the Philippines Film Institute, said the festival entries were chosen based on "quality" instead of bankability.
Vice Ganda said he wasn't offended by the decision and instead rallied fans to support both his movie and those included in the film festival.