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Pacman flick knocked out on first day

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 17:35:00 12/26/2009

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Cinema, Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines?Seven-time world champion Manny ?Pacman? Pacquiao has failed to bring his billion-peso punch to the box office.

Pacquiao?s superhero flick ?Wapakman? landed in last place, earning only P750,000 on the first day of the two-week Metro Manila Film Festival.

According to official box-office records released by the MMFF, through executive committee member Ric Camaligan, the top slots were a close three-cornered fight among special-effects movies: ?Ang Panday,? ?Ang Darling Kong Aswang? and ?Shake, Rattle & Roll XI.?

?Ang Panday,? a fantasy-action epic top-billed by actor-politician Ramon ?Bong? Revilla Jr., earned P16.9 million nationwide. Coming in second was the Vic Sotto horror-comedy ?Ang Darling Kong Aswang,? with P16.8 million. In third place is the long-running, all-star cast horror trilogy franchise ?Shake? from Regal Entertainment, with P16.2 million.

Although ?Wapakman? is also a special-effects-laden action flick, it didn?t attract the viewers who usually troop to Pacquiao?s prizefights that were shown via satellite in moviehouses, noted filmmaker Jose Javier Reyes.

Reyes, the director behind two MMFF top-grossers back-to-back (?Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo? in 2006 and ?Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo? in 2007), offered a theory on Pacman?s lackluster box-office performance: ?Filipinos adore him as a prizefighter... as an athlete, but apparently not as an actor, singer... not even as a politician.?

Reyes recalled that Pacquiao lost in his first Congressional bid against Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio in South Cotabato in 2007. He is running again in next year?s election, for a Congressional post in Saranggani.

Reyes recounted that Pacman?s entry in the MMFF two years ago, ?Anak ng Kumander,? was also a tail-ender at the tills, earning barely P2 million by the end of the festival.

?People will stop their lives to watch him fight in the ring, but it seems they will not go out of their way to watch him goof around in a movie,? Reyes pointed out. ?He is a real-life hero; not a superhero.?

There is also speculation in the entertainment industry that the rumors of an extra-marital affair linking Pacquiao to ?Wapakman? co-star Krista Ranillo didn?t help in promoting what was ostensibly a family movie?much in the same way that gossip of an illicit romance with ?Kumander? co-star Ara Mina didn?t help that earlier film?s performance at the box office either.

?There is a disconnect, publicity-wise. That?s possible,? said Reyes. ?But in Pinoy macho society, there?s nothing too scandalous, shocking or salacious about the gossip regarding Manny and Krista anyway.?

In an earlier interview Pacquiao said: ?Sana panoorin ng mga intrigero ang pelikula namin. Sayang naman ?yong intriga pag hindi kumita ang pelikula? (I hope the intrigue-mongers watch our movie. What?s the use of the intrigues if our movie doesn?t make money?)?

From all indications, the controversy didn?t contribute positively to the film?s box-office standing.

?He is an icon. A legend. He has to know his limits, his parameters,? said Reyes. ?As a media personality, his biggest achievement is that he gave the world his mother, Dionisia, who is such a colorful character.?

Rounding out the box-office results of the first day of the MMFF, now in its 35th year, are the romance drama ?I Love You, Goodbye,? with P11.7 million; the comedy-drama ?Nobody, Nobody But . . . Juan,? with P8 million; the Chinese family saga ?Mano Po 6: A Mother?s Love,? with P6.9; and ?Wapakman,? with P750,000.

Reyes pointed out that the ?early trend in the film fest is that drama films like ?I Love You,? ?Nobody? and ?Mano Po? are clobbered at the tills by fantasy/special effects flicks like ?Panday,? ?Darling? and ?Shake.?

Although ?Mano Po? was graded A for its polish and competence by the Cinema Evaluation Board, it struggled on its first day,

?That?s only the first round, so to speak,? said Reyes. ?That?s just the first wave of movie attendance. I am praying that moviegoers would have enough money for the second wave of movie-watching... for the good of the drama films. But then again, retail was in pretty bad shape this Christmas season.?

Another interesting facet in the box-office race is that while GMA Films? landed in first place with ?Panday,? rival ABS-CBN?s entry, Star Cinema?s ?I Love You,? was in fourth spot.

?That?s quite a bitter pill to swallow... in the context of the network war,? said Reyes.

Awards night is on Monday and the most commercially successful film often ends up wining Best Picture, according to the fest?s criteria, said Camaligan.

Revilla, the star of ?Panday,? is happy but hardly surprised by his film?s strong showing.

?Movie watching at Christmas time is always for the entire family,? he said. ?I heard that our film made P250,000 on its first screening hour in SM North Edsa. That?s just with one cinema, with one screening. It?s a record-breaker.?

This was confirmed by Camaligan, executive committee member of the MMFF: ? ?Panday? earned over P1 million in one day in SM North Edsa. It beat last year?s record.?

Reyes said that a filmfest entry?s box-office performance could also be affected by other factors like the number and accessibility of cinemas each entry would get. ?Producers draw lots in dividing the cinemas. A producer would just have to hope that he or she gets good cinemas... moviehouses that are both accessible and first-rate. But the most important factor is still content. Fantasy has consistently proven to be commercial, while serious films simply don?t work.?

Camaligan asserted that the division of cinemas is done fairly.

"Each entry gets 110 cinemas. The 800 cinemas nationwide are divided into seven groups and that?s what the producers divide among themselves, by drawing lots,? he said.

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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