Now on its 43rd year, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will showcase eight locally produced movies anew for a couple of weeks starting Dec. 25. This is the only time during the year that only local films are shown in virtually all of the moviehouses in the country.
In the past six years, 29 film studios have either produced or distributed a movie for the festival. That may seem like a big number. In actuality, not many of them last or remain active in the festival that long. Almost half of them are either new film studios or have only produced only one movie for the contest from 2012 to 2017.
In the same period, only 10 film outfits produced or co-produced at least four movies for the MMFF. They’re led by ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.’s movie outfit, Star Cinema, which made a total of 10 films; Viva Entertainment, which made nine; and Quantum Films, which produced six. Four producers—Regal Entertainment of industry stalwart Lily Monteverde, OctoArts, APT Entertainment and M-ZET productions—made five films each. The last three—GMA Films, Kris Aquino Productions and MJM Productions—made four films each.
Of the eight major movie producers whose financial statements are available at the SEC, only three reported revenues of over Php100 million in their latest financial report. Of these, only one—Star Cinema—made at least Php1 billion in gross sales. The pattern is similar in terms of profits or net income. Only three companies made over Php10 million in net income, and only one of them—again Star Cinema—reported a profit of over Php100 million.
Considering the huge costs of producing full-length feature films, these relatively low levels of revenue and net income perhaps explain why over half of the 29 outfits that participated in the MMFF in the past six years produced only one movie each. More Filipinos need to watch locally produced movies and not just during the two-week MMFF to support the financial health of the Filipino filmmaking industry.
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz