Feb 17
BOX OFFICE HITTERS by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Feb 17, 2012

According to Director William Mayo, making a movie is business hence the term show business. Without the show, there is no business. So the primary consideration in making a commercial movie is the business side and art is only secondary.

But the dictum of show business does not apply to indie movies. Although produced with minimal budget, most indie movies do not earn in the box office. Even Brillante Mendoza, the multi-awarded indie director, doesn’t have a box office hitter in his resume.

Perhaps the thing called commercial value plays a big role in terms of box office hits. And one element of commercial value is the casting. That’s one of the reasons why producers gamble on big name stars despite their exorbitant talent fees.

In the olden times, there were the so-called formula movies that raked in money for the producers. Especially during the era of Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos, almost all their song and dance movies earned in the box office.

In the 1980s, when action movies were the toast of the town, bio films became the trend after the moviegoers got tired of legendary heroes. This was the era of action movies that gave rise to new players in the persons of Ace Vergel, Efren Reyes, Jr, Jeric Raval.

However, it was ironic that majority of the bio films were that of criminals, reminiscent of American movies in the 1960s. Eventually, moviegoers got tired of what the action genre could offer.

In the present time, Hollywood is having minor shocks about new box office hitters.

Unknown director Josh Trank came up with Chronicle, a story of 3 boys having superpowers. It grossed $22 million in the first 3 days of showing.

Considering its production budget was a mere $12 million, Chronicle is truly a winner. Trank was involved in post-production work before he got the opportunity to direct a movie. Written by Max Landis, the teaser of Chronicle went viral in youtube.

Another box officer hitter in hollywood is Director Michael Sucsy. He directed The Vow which has Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams in a romantic comedy. Surprisingly, The Vow took the no. 1 slot in the box office race with $41 million over the weekend.

Coincidentally, The Vow beat another new box office hitter. Safe House of Universal Studios tallied $39 million for the Denzel Washington starrer. It was directed by Daniel Espinosa, another newcomer in the league.

In the local scene, Toni Gonzaga was recently awarded the Box Office Queen title, beating Ai-ai Delas Alas. But awards don’t really reflect accuracy of the figures they represent. Normally, producers don’t give out figures for obvious reasons.

Ang Tanging Ina was a trendsetter. It was the first non-festival movie to achieve a box office gross of over P100 million. With Ai-ai Delas Alas in the title role, she was supported by Eugene Domingo and a host of young stars.

Perhaps the huge casting provided the spark plug for Ang Tanging Ina – Marvin Agustin, Heart Evangelista, Shaina Magdayao, Jiro Manio, Nikki Valdez, Carlo Aquino, Ketchup Eusebio and Serena Darymple.

One of the phenomenal hits was A Very Special Love, the first team up of Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz. Their symmetry on the screen was surprisingly good that it earned P58 million in the first week.

Shown in 2008, A Very Special Love was directed by Cathy Garcia Molina, a newcomer director. The romantic comedy earned a total of P179 million for the co-producers Star Cinema and Viva Films.

A year after, the same producers came up with You Changed My Life. For Star Cinema and Viva Films, they believe that lightning can strike twice. Although not a sequel to A Very Special Love, it was also directed by Cathy Garcia Molina.

You Changed My Life showcased the successful romantic tandem of Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz. The movie with a touch of comedy had set the box office record of all time at P225 million.

2011 was a good year for the local movies because it produced 2 record-breaking movies. No Other Woman is a romance drama by the same partnership that produced the romantic movies of Sarah and John Lloyd. But this time it was directed by Ruel Bayani.

Featuring the love triangle of Anne Curtis, Derek Ramsay and Cristine Reyes, No Other Woman was not expected to be a box office hitter because of typhoon Peding. But despite the situation, it broke the previous record high with its P278 million box office sales.

So far, the record holder for the local box office gross is The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin. For the first time, a local movie broke the 300M barrier by tallying P331 million. Surprisingly, it was another product of Star Cinema and Viva Films.

The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin, which was shown in 2011, is a comedy in the tradition style. Phenomenal star Vice Ganda essayed the title role. Playing major support was Derek Ramsay.

Hopefully, 2012 would eclipse the good fortune of the movie industry in 2011. You can cross your fingers that Star Cinema and Viva Films could come up with another set of box office hitters.

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