Why local films bomb at the box-office one after another

January 13, 2019
Kim Chiu & Xian Lim

THERE was a time when the playdate right after the Metro Manila filmfest was much-coveted by local producers. It’s not surprising that they’re all scrambling to show their new releases right after the festival because moviegoers are eager to watch new local films. But sadly, this is no longer the case lately.

The last movie that did well right after the filmfest was “Bride for Rent” from Star Cinema starring Kim Chiu and Xian Lim in 2014.  Right after that, all the films shown immediately after the festival didn’t do well at the box-office, starting in 2015 with “Tragic Theatre” from Viva starring Andi Eigenmann which really did tragically at the tills and “Edsa Woolworth” where the entry of moviegoers was as slow as the traffic at Edsa, from The Filipino Channel/Star Cinema starring Pokwang (but at least, that’s where she met her partner and dad of her baby, Lee O’Brien.)

This was followed in 2016 by “Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin” from Viva and the viewers really obeyed the title, lumayo nga sila sa movie. To think this is a star-studded trilogy led by Maricel Soriano and Herbert Bautista. In 2017, it’s the sexy action comedy from Star Cinema starring Jessy Mendiola and Coleen Garcia, “Extra Service”, which had no happy ending at all despite the offer of something extra.

Last year, the movie that opened right after the filmfest was Regal’s “Mama’s Girl” starring Sofia Andres and Diego Loyzaga, a movie that proved to be a jinx for both of them since they’re now both out of circulation. And this year, the movie that did the honors to continue this trend is “Boy Tokwa” starring Jose Manalo. As of this writing, it has been pulled out from several theaters while, in a few remaining mall theaters, it’s now being shown with limited screening hours, alternating with other movies that are also on the verge of being pulled out.

But what do you expect? The movie was hardly promoted. It seems they made the shooting of the movie a big secret and everyone was just surprised when, one week before the playdate, they suddenly had a presscon with a limited number of press people invited to announce its showing. What were they thinking? That is simply not enough time to promote a movie.

Before, during the heydays of Regal, we remember Mother Lily Monteverde inviting us to the first shooting day of her new movies. This is to foster awareness early on that such a movie is in the process of being made. Now, when we interview today’s stars and ask them: do you have a new movie? Their usual answer is: “Meron po pero hindi pa raw puwedeng i-announce ang details. Secret pa raw po.”

Ha ha ha! Isn’t that a big laugh? Instead of promoting their movie, they’re keeping it a secret. We cannot understand the logic, honestly. Then they’ll hold a presscon for the movie about a week or two just before its playdate. No wonder local films are flopping one after another. Simply because they’re being released in theaters with moviegoers hardly knowing that there is such a movie that has been made. Isn’t that the height of stupidity? You all deserve to flop!

characters perish. Five years then quickly pass by and Sandra and the kids end up as the only ones who survived.

Sandra learns about the sanctuary down the river from a walkie talkie and decides to take the risk of taking the dangerous wild river boat ride. She and the two kids have to be blindfolded all throughout the journey so that they won’t see the seemingly supernatural and very powerful creatures.

How the story would unfold in a believable manner is tough to pull off but it succeeds in sustaining our interest for two hours. We become involved the moment Sandra tells the kids that they will take a boat trip that “will feel like it’ll go on forever. You must stay alert and you must never remove your blindfolds or I will hurt you. If you see, you die.” There’s even a Sophie’s Choice kind of moment where she has to choose between the two kids but this is not pursued. The feeling of claustrophobia manages to absorb us and we find Sandra and the kids totally sympathetic. We root of them and want them to win in their horrible ordeal and fight for survival. There are scenes that unfold from the blindfolded characters' perspective and this is where the sound design adds up to the tension and atmosphere of paranoia and terror, aided and abetted by the truly disquieting musical score. “Bird Box” is really worth a look.