“I’ve been in the business of entertainment for over half a century, but can you still see how I’m excited about it?”
This was the rhetorical question of a beaming Vic del Rosario, founder of Viva Entertainment Inc., at a sit down with The Manila Times on February 5. Boss Vic, as he is fondly called in show business, was still waiting for the ink to dry on a contract he signed with SM Lifestyle Entertainment for his latest endeavor, and was clearly in his element. Considered one of the pillars of Philippine showbiz, he is all set to bring films from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China to local movie theaters via the novel concept “SineAsia.”
To be exclusively shown in select SM Cinemas and Waltermart Cinemas nationwide, the impetus for SineAsia comes from the apparent resurgence of Asian films in the global movie industry, coupled with an active exchange of Filipino productions with those of the country’s regional neighbors. The simplest yet most compelling proof of this is the continued success of “Tagalized” Korean and Japanese series on Philippine television. As such, the movies that will be shown in SineAsia will also be dubbed in the Filipino language.
As expected, Boss Vic’s SineAsia project—as all innovative ideas go—was met with some resistance.
Won’t it effectively bring more competition for locally produced movies, which has long been battling with Hollywood movies at the box office?
“Too much protectionism doesn’t help,” was Boss Vic’s straightforward reply. He pointed out that rather than seeing the showing of Asian films in the country as competition, skeptics should recognize the essential goal of the idea, which is to put the Filipino film side by side with its regional counterparts.
“We’re taking it step by step,” he continued. “First, we show them, next they show us. The movie industry isn’t all about Hollywood anymore, and we have to show them that the movies in Asia are just as good as theirs. How can we do this if we don’t go out and reach out to the film industries in the region? Movies are global. Kailangan natin ito para tayo rin makalabas ng bansa.”
He also compellingly added that there is no truth to the claim that “the Philippine movie industry is dying.”
“It’s not dead,” he declared with finality. “But it’s dead for the companies who haven’t adjusted to the changing times. [On the other hand] movie making is so profitable for those that do. You know why? Because it’s not just about making money in the theaters. Today, you have TV, cable, the Internet. So you shouldn’t judge the results [of a movie]on typical box office returns.”
Ready to put his money where his mouth is, Boss Vic has indeed gone into the different platforms available for movies, joining Globe’s newest video-on- demand service, Hooq, on the very evening of this interview. [See related story on this page].
“If you don’t evolve, your dead; and Viva certainly has no plans of going that way,” he ended in a very high note indeed.
SineAsia will provide the newest and most unique library of Asian films for the Filipino audience. All films will be ‘tagalized’ for the customer’s ease of watching. To pay tribute to the fast rising Asian film genre, SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc., the management company of SM Cinema and WM Cinemas, created The SineAsia Theater: a movie house dedicated to the viewing of never-before-seen, premiere and commercial Asian films. The theatre, beginning with its exterior, will emanate the authenticity of the oriental flicks to be played on the big-screen, giving movie-goers an experience like no other. The SineAsia Theater is the first Asian tagalized theater in the country.