Dec 30
MMFFP FANTASY FEST by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Dec 30, 2005

The current Metro Manila Film Festival is getting to be a festival of fantasy movies. And this may be just the start. With the advent of computer-generated animation, there’s a good plenty of reasons for fantasy films to proliferate in the festivals to come.

Leading in the box office sales as of press time is Vic Sotto’s Enteng Kabisote (Okay Ka, Fairy Ko…The Legend Continues) , incidentally the sequel to the runaway winner in terms of sales in last year’s MMFFP. Not far behind is Bong Revilla’s Exodus…Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom and a very close third is Mulawin: The Movie .

Vic Sotto, the undisputed king of festival box office with his MMFFP hits in the past three years: Lastikman , Fantastikman and Enteng Kabisote: The Legend , is worried not of competition but of the thought that the sequel may not beat the original. It would have been a roll for Lastikman but unfortunately Vic and his handlers were not able to get the copyright so they settled for Fantastikman with the help of Michael V’s imaginative mind. Coincidentally, a version of Lastikman , with Mark Bautista and Sarah Geronimo, clashed with Enteng Kabisote in last year’s festival. It is interesting to note that Alice Dixson, the original Fey in the TV series, is reprising the role of Ina Magenta, originally portrayed by the late Charito Solis. For Vic’s love interest, in the first and in this sequel, is Kristine Hermosa who is playing the character of Fey. Aiza Seguerra and Oyo Boy Sotto as the original foster siblings are also in the cast.

Giving a challenge to the unofficial title of Festival King is Bong Revilla. Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom is full of animation that promises to thrill the kids and even the adults. With a good story to boot and a casting coup featuring the three generations of the Revilla clan, Exodus will certainly figure in the top positions for the race in box office sales. Also in the cast is Aubrey Miles and BJ ‘Tolits’ Forbes for the lucky charm. (The charismatic kid served as Vic’s lucky charm in Espiritista which also raked in money for the producers).

Mulawin: The Movie can fly its own way up the tills counting the loyal followers of the TV series which ended only recently. A big come on, aside from the fascinating story, is the love angle between Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin. The popularity of the two stars can eclipse the trend considering that Richard is still getting high with his Sugo and, although it had already ended, Angel has countless followers in her Darna costume. And with the 80 million spent for the production, Mulawin is a dark horse in the money race.

Whether producers admit it or not, the trend has definitely moved away from the usual horror and drama genre during festivals.

Ako, Legal Wife , a drama-comedy of Regal’s Mano Po movie series, is in 4 th place in the sales, not even reaching half of Enteng Kabisote ‘s figure. Last year’s Mano Po 3 did not earn as expected so Ako, Legal Wife ‘s anemic showing in the money race is not surprising at all. Another Regal bet, Shake, Rattle and Roll 2K5, is neck and neck with Ako, Legal Wife . A trilogy with Ara Mina, Ai-Ai Delas Alas and Starstruckers Rainier Castillo and Yasmien Kurdi, SRR is the 7 th sequel to the Regal’s comedy-thriller series.

Kutob , a serious thriller directed by Joey Javier Reyes, featuring Marvin Agustin and Rica Peralejo, is in number 6 slot, getting a meager half of the 4 th placer’s sales. Catchy press releases by the director did not help the movie simply because of the changing trend. Last in the ladder of sales is Terrorist Hunter , a hard-core action film by a neophyte producer, Double Impact Films. In spite of having Eddie Garcia in the lead role, Terrorist Hunter failed to sow terror in the hearts of the viewers. Presumably this action movie will remain in the cellar until the end.

The initial figures of sales clearly separate the top three movies from the bottom four, a firm indication that fantasy movies are cornering the festival audience. Kids, especially, are wont to see the fancy costumes, unique settings and surreal conflicts.

Set to be shown on January 1 are three festival movies comprising the so-called second batch of entries. The first seven movies which started showing on Christmas Day are winners in the first selection process which judged the entry based on submitted scripts. The last three movies, which are to be shown starting January 1, were selected based on the finished product (film).

The Mourning Girls with four peculiar ladies in the persons of Assunta De Rossi, Chin Chin Gutierrez, Glydel Mercado and Juliana Palermo, is a comedy in the tradition of Working Girls . Lagot Ka sa Kuya Ko with Ronnie Rickets in the lead and also in the directorial helm, is true-blue action. Noteworthy is Mariz who plays a lesbian character. Joel Lamangan’s Blue Moon is another family drama bannering the romance of Starstruckers Mark Herras and Jennylyn Mercado with Pauleen Luna thickening the plot. Christopher De Leon headlines Blue Moon .

Pundits are predicting that the trend is already set and the placings of MMFFP entries, in terms of box office sales, will not vary much. But unlike last year where only three movies earned decently (with Enteng Kabisote getting the lion’s share), the current trend indicates that five films will get past the break-even mark. On the other hand, the tail-ender Terrorist Hunter will be needing a miracle to recoup Col. Jerry Valeroso’s investment.

Nevertheless, the initial release of box office records is a healthy sign for the movie industry. Whether the trend continues or not, the 31 st MMFFP will definitely break the last year’s gross sales record. The MMFFP awards night is set on January 6 when all the 10 entries were shown so it will not affect the ever-changing box office trend.

Comments to this article can be sent to ajsocorro@yahoo.com .