Piolo’s ‘Manila’ Earns P700K

Distributed by Star Cinema, premiered in Cannes, opened Cinemalaya, great promotions with matching Bench billboards, what went wrong?

Manila is a two-part indie film that features Piolo Pascual, who is also a co-producer for this film, and is helmed by critically acclaimed directors Adolf Alix, Jr. and Raya Martin. The film is inspired by Ishmael Bernal’s 1980 movie Manila By Night and Lino Brocka’s 1979 masterpiece Jaguar.

It had its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival in France. It’s also the opening film for the 2009 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. It was distributed by Star Cinema in 17 selected theaters, mostly in Mega Manila. And when it comes to promotion, no less than Bench helped with its billboards.

It’s box-office haul was P700,130.64. It grossed only P200,000 on opening day. Some theaters that averaged as low as P5,000, made it a first day, last day opening.

So what went wrong? Perhaps the film is not commercial enough? Perhaps it only caters to the highly intellectual movie-goers? Or perhaps a black and white movie is perceived “boring” by Pinoys.

It may be a flop at the box-office but come awards night next year, it could be one of the contenders. Quality doesn’t always translate to box-office success, you know, and vice versa. Transformers 2 were a critical flop but it became a monster hit. Boys Don’t Cry and Monster’s Ball were box-office flops but they are Oscar winners.

And as for Piolo, as first time producer, we can only say “charge to experience.” At least he had the courage to make an art film rather than a mediocre comedy like Oh My Girl (I’m really frustrated with this movie).

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