We are just days away from the announcement of the eight official entries in this year’s Metropolitan Manila Film Festival (Philippines). In fact, the executive committee of MMFFP 2009 and the screening committee of readers who will select the deserving eight scripts to be produced for the filmfest—though some had already started grinding weeks or months before—will meet this afternoon (June 30) at the conference room of MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando.
The deadline for the submission of screenplays was June 19, our national hero’s birthday. Apparently 11 scripts were submitted to beat the dead-line after paying an entry fee of P20,000 each. An early announcement will enable the producers of the winning scripts ample time to make the December 25 opening day.
According to reliable sources—including producers who submitted the scripts—it appears that this year’s filmfest will be a top-heavy one and the battle at the box-office will be a free-for-all.
The fearless forecast for this year’s MMFFP is: not even the most savvy of odds-makers will have an easy time ticking off the final list of top-grossers from the first to the eighth slots.
Just consider the following confirmed entries:
–Dolphy and Willie Revillame together in a film titled Juan to be produced by RVQ Films and Eric Quizon’s film company. Eric will direct.
–Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. in his second outing as Panday (the first was directed by Peque Gallaga), the Carlos Caparas komiks hero who had been played by Fernando Poe Jr., Jericho Rosales (in TV) and another senator, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada.
–Vic Sotto, perennial MMFFP participant who has been garnering the top-grosser or 2nd top-grosser title seven or eight years running, in Ang Darling Kong Aswang.
–Sharon Cuneta stars in the newest Mano Po film of Mother Lily’s Regal Entertainment Incorporated with a possible-team-up with Angel Locsin.
–I Love You…Goodbye from Star Cinema which stars Gabby Concepcion in a May-December love story with Angelica Panganiban.
–A Kris Aquino starrer, Ikaw na Nga, also from Star Cinema.
–Marian Rivera in a sequel of Nieves which will be expanded into a full-length film (last year, it was the final episode in the 10th edition of the successful Shake, Rattle and Roll franchise).
–And Shake, Rattle and Roll 11 to perpetuate the truism that a Metro Manila Filmfest is not MMFF if there is no Shake, Rattle and Roll entry.
–Manny Pacquiao returns to the MMFF after Anak ng Kumander with Wapacman which co-stars him with Pussycat Nicole and wrestling champion Batista.
–2999, a Love Story sounds like a futuristic romantic flick with Nikki Gil and Marvin Agustin.
–A hard action film titled Daniel Rapido.
If ever, only three entries will not make it to the magic eight. But it is readily apparent that a box-office free-for-all is indeed in the offing.
Let us review the last six years of the MMFF by focusing on the top-grosser and 2nd top-grosser for each year.
In 2003, Bong Revilla’s Captain Barbel outperformed Fantastik Man of Vic Sotto. In preceding years, Vic was lording it over the field of competition with Lastikman.
The year 2004 began the Enteng Kabisote franchise from OctoArts and M-zet. EK 1 was the top-grosser, followed unexpectedly by So Happy Together which starred Kris and Eric Quizon.
In 2005, Enteng Kabisote 2 replicated its predecessor’s top-grossing ways, getting back at Bong Revilla (with Exodus) who beat Vic in 2003.
But Enteng Kabisote 3 in 2006 was waylaid by the Juday-Ryan juggernaut, Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo from Star Cinema. It was the start of three consecutive years that Star Cinema finished on top of the heap.
The year 2007 was a reprise of the previous year when Juday-Ryan’s Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo again knocked off Enteng Kabisote 4 from the top rung of the filmfest.
Last year, Star Cinema made it three in a row with Ai-Ai’s Ang Tanging Ina Niyong Lahat which outgrossed Iskul Bukol (20 years later) inspite of the reunion of the Tito, Vic and Joey troika.
So… what do you think? Will you go on of your limb with a forecast for this year’s MMFFP box-office duels? Will Vic regain his footing as the top honcho? Will Star Cinema make it four in a row? Will Senator Bong come up with another good leap for the top?
As it is, there is just one fearless forecast for this year’s MMFF and that is: for this year, all that you can come up with is a fearful forecast.
The moral lesson from all this? Down and away with this forecasting business. Let’s enjoy and see each other at the Parade of Stars on December 24.
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