Based on the official announcement of the eight official entries vis-a-vis eight short films to the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) held recently at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan hosted by festival spokesperson Noel Ferrer, it looks like the playing field for box-office supremacy will be contested by only three films.
Topping the list are two Star Cinema entries. “Ang Panday” with Viva and CCM Creative Productions as co-producers has Coco Martin playing the lead character of a third-generation Panday, directed by Rodel Nacianceno, Martin’s real name, in case you didn’t know.
The other is “Gandarrapido! The Revenger Squad” (with Viva also as co-producer). With Vice Ganda in the lead, it also stars Daniel Padilla and Pia Wurtzbach – in her first screen appearance after winning Miss Universe – as a lunatic villainess superhero, directed by box-office director Joyce Bernal.
Next in line is “Meant To Beh,” starring Vic Sotto and Dawn Zulueta produced by MZet with APT and OctoArts Films as co-producers with Chris Martinez as director.
It follows that the three titanic actors who will lord it over this year’s MMFF (not necessarily in that order) are Coco Martin, Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto.
Coco Martin’s entry will have the bigger chance to be on top if the big fan following of his “FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano” on TV will translate to box-office glory.
Vice Ganda, on the other hand, had been a consistent top draw in the past editions, mostly on his own solo starrers. In terms of added recall, Vice Ganda has his daily “It’s Showtime” and weekly “Gandang Gabi Vice.”
Contention for the top spot may be reduced to a sort of gender-bending factor. Vice Ganda has the considerable LGBT sector who might just make his comedy fantasy movie into a monster hit, not to underrate the captivating silhouette factor of Wurtzbach in tight-fitting outfit thrown in for good measure.
On Coco’s side, there is the formidable macho population behind him to contend with that would include the whole kaboodle in the family with drivers and kasambahays in tow to watch him swashbuckling in his state-of-the-art Hollywoodish action fantasy.
Vic Sotto with his equally big chunk of “Eat Bulaga” daily viewers might emerge as a potential dark horse, but being number three would not be all that bad sitting pretty while waiting for his investment mutiply many times over.
“All Of You” topbilled by Jennylyn Mercado, Derek Ramsay and Jericho Rosales might just do a reprise for Joji Alonzo’s Quantum Films, if not more in terms of commercial viability and artistic appeal like her 2014 entry “English Only Please.”
“Deadma Walking” which explores deep friendship among gays – obviously riding on the theme of last year’s “Die Beautiful” – may also pull a surprise in the acting department both for Joross Gamboa and Edgar Allen Guzman. It may even outdo director Paul Soriano’s entry “Siargao” and Regal’s “Haunted Forest” that smacks of their last year’s entry, “Seklusyon.”
In all things being equal without putting weight at all on box-office takes, Caveat hazards however that director Loy Arcenas’ musical-historical entry “Ang Larawan,” based on Nick Joaquin’s “A Portrait of the Artist As Filipino,” is a shoo-in for Best Picture or Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award.
This critically-acclaimed production of Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo culled from her own blood, sweat and tears has put some semblance of balance to an otherwise slew of crackling commercially viable, albeit delightful festival entries galore for the Filipino family this Christmas Season to savor.