Gender-bending Die Beautiful which won for lead star Paolo Ballesteros the Best Actor award in the Tokyo International Film Festival in November is leading the box-office in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) that opened on Christmas Day.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) had no official figures as of Monday afternoon, but based on feedback from SM Malls theaters – SM North Edsa, Mall of Asia, SM Manila, Southmall – and Robinson’s Place theaters, the lines and ticket sales affirm the box-office supremacy of the Regal Entertainment-released film.
The second to fourth places is a toss between Seklusyon, running second mostly in the southern part of the metro; Star Cinema’s Vince & Kath & James which was in second place in Quezon City theaters but fourth in the south; and Saving Sally, which was in third to fourth place.
Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: Forever’s Not Enough starring Eugene Domingo and the Nora Aunor-starrer Kabisera are running in the fifth to sixth places. Meanwhile, the mining tale Oro and the documentary Sunday Beauty Queen are in the seventh to eighth places.
Audience turnout on the first day was mixed. Lines were long just like the previous years at SM North Edsa, considered the barometer of city pulse, but no throngs of people were lining up for tickets at Southmall.
This year’s MMFF has been expected to earn much less than last year’s take of P1.2 billion, especially that the duration was cut from 14 days to 10 days and there had been no movies that qualified from established box-office stars Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto.
However, the MMFF 2016 Selection Committee head, University of the Philippines professor Nick Tiongson, said they were aware of the risk of their choices in terms of ticket sales.
“We should not relate commercial success to certain formula. We need to discover other kinds of films because those open our minds to a lot of things. My faith is that audiences are no longer bakya. That’s over. We already have an audience that is media-savvy. They are exposed to excellent media films already. It is wrong to dumb them down, as that would be condescending. If we know what quality is, then let’s try and give them quality,” he stressed during the media briefing on the official entries that made it to Magic 8.
Other members of the Selection Committee are respected personalities in their respective fields including Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte-Alimurung, Palanca Hall of Fame awardee Krip Yuson, veteran entertainment journalist Crispina Belen, writer-director Lawrence Fajardo, actor Ping Medina, National Commission on Culture and the Arts legal counsel Trixie Angeles, DZRB broadcaster Alan Allanigue and film luminary/political activist Mae Paner.