Mission accomplished
Edgar O. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The day before the opening of the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, viewers occupied by holiday preparations had season-connected priorities. And watching a full-length feature was not high in the list. The space opera had mixed ticket sales performance, either exceeding expectations or selling below par based on theater location.

The negative capability of the same market force also affected MMFF New Wave 1015, the festival’s indie film component, which wrapped up on the same day.

This did not prove, however, as the bellwether of the MMFF 2015 that auspiciously kicked off on Christmas. Eight official entries opened in all 2D cinemas nationwide but excluding 3D platforms. Festival rules exempt them due special screen specifications, taking place for the second time in its 41-year history.

My Bebe Love: Kilig Pa More, Beauty And the Bestie, Haunted Mansion, All You Need Is Pag-ibig, Walang Forever, Buy Now, Die Later, Honor Thy Father, and Nilalang grossed P150 million on opening day based on the data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). This figure exceeded the previous year’s P147M by P3M.

IMAX MOA was pre-booked to capacity during the Christmas rush periods despite the higher ticket price. The supreme update and bewildering upgrade of the Star Wars saga in huge format screen in simulated environment and ambiance boggled viewers’ minds.

By end of MMFF 2015, total haul of The Force Awakens after 19 days of screening stood at $740.3M in the US. This beat the box-office grosses of Jurassic World at $652.3M and Titanic at $658.7M. No doubt its screening during MMFF 2015 contributed to this phenomenal gross that will challenge Avatar’s $2.8B record.

Despite the controversy of ticket swapping, the disqualification of Honor Thy Father for Best Picture and the conflicting claims for topgrosser distinction that stirred or continue to stir it, MMFF 2015 held its ground solidly, hitting its sales target.

This should have split ticket counter takes.  Forget about it. Star and entertainment values worked to MMFF 2015’s favor. Proof is Beauty and My Bestie has earned more than P481M as of Jan. 12. It overtook A Second Chance’s P480M domestic record but still distant before overtaking its P556M worldwide record.

Even with the galactic juggernaut’s advantages of high technology and distribution savvy, MMFF 2015 turned out a matched competition. It did this by accomplishing its mission of upping earnings from the 2014’s P985M to P1.02B, a 3.55 percent increase. This is the official report by first-time MMFF executive committee head Emerson Carlos who is also MMDA chairman.

Having completed what it set to do, the vision of the founders of the MMFF, and its pioneer, the Manila Film Festival, proved enlightened even in the long-term. Mission accomplished.

 

A SECOND CHANCE ACIRC ALL YOU NEED IS PAG BEAUTY AND MY BESTIE BEAUTY AND THE BESTIE BEST PICTURE BUY NOW FORCE AWAKENS HONOR THY FATHER MMFF STAR WARS
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