Director Erik Matti laments state of PH film industry after string of flops; asks for gov’t intervention

Photo: Erik Matti’s Facebook account
Photo: Erik Matti’s Facebook account

Is the Philippine movie industry in trouble?

Erik Matti, the director behind the movies On the Job and BuyBust, wrote a Facebook post yesterday lamenting the state of the Philippine movie industry after a series of what he said were unsuccessful films.

Matti wrote that the local film industry is in a “dire situation.”

He wrote: “Someone should do something about it. [The] government should intervene. This is not a slow death anymore. We are on life support and we need resuscitation. No more pointing fingers. I think we’re beyond that at this point. This is a plea for help.”

Matti said that while local movies continue to be produced, no one is “doing good business,” not even big studios.

He explained that several local movies were screened for the past three weeks, all of which were unsuccessful despite “all the marketing fanfare.”

The film Tol, produced by his own studio Reality Entertainment, did not fare well in the box office when it was released last week.

He said “This week, Regal [Films] and Viva [Entertainment] premiered films and again it wasn’t received well at the box office despite all the marketing and promising stories. Even [the] MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival), no matter how much they claim with pride that it was a hit, it wasn’t. It didn’t make as much money as the previous years. And instead of looking at the problem head-on of the dwindling audience they (the producers) just chose to deny it.”

Matti didn’t specify the films that he was referring to but this week, Regal released the romance movie Elise, while Viva released the drama Hanggang Kailan?

Matti asked: “Is it the online platforms killing us? Is it [the lack of] support of cinemas? Is it Hollywood? Is it bad marketing? Is it esoteric, irrelevant, tired or uninteresting stories? Is it traffic? Is it downloads? Is it poverty? Has our audience outgrown our films? I really don’t know at this point.”

He added that the industry can no longer continue making films that no one watches.

“We cannot blindly just trudge along busily working on our films without thinking about whether all this passion is really worth it. We cannot keep on spending millions for (sic) movies that no one gets to see. This is alarming. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.”

At present, Matti’s post has been shared more than 800 times.

Matti’s followers shared their own opinions regarding the situation. Francis Caysip said that video streaming is the reason why people have stopped watching movies at the cinemas.

He wrote: “For (sic) a viewer’s perspective, it is more economical to watch a movie at home. For just PHP370 (US$7.09) a month you can watch hundreds of movies, TV series, and documentaries.”

“We are living in a ‘digitized’ world now. There are many options now for local audiences offered by content producers globally. I think all stakeholders in the Philippine movie industry should band together and come up with innovative solutions,” he added.

Caysip suggested producers should create content and sell it to Netflix, the global streaming service.

Photo: Erik Matti's Facebook account
Photo: Erik Matti’s Facebook account

Grez Gabriel blamed the city’s traffic.

She wrote: “I think it’s because of the traffic.  I don’t have [the] time [to watch] and [I’m] not willing to experience traffic when I don’t have work. If it is even possible to make it available online right away where we can rent to watch, I’d be glad to support.”

Photo: Erik Matti's Facebook account
Photo: Erik Matti’s Facebook account

Mia Reyes blames the price of movie tickets, which averages at PHP270 (US$5.18).  

She wrote that if tickets were priced higher than fast food meals, people would choose to eat instead of watch movies. She also said that some people choose to save their money for Hollywood films instead of spending them on local movies.

Photo: Erik Matti's Facebook account
Photo: Erik Matti’s Facebook account

One netizen, however, rejected Matti’s proposal that the government should intervene.

Well Macarubbo wrote: “Why would [the] government infuse money to the showbiz industry? Filipinos will not die if they don’t watch bad films. You should improve the quality of your craft. Besides, some actors are on the payroll of some politicians.”

Photo: Erik Matti's Facebook account
Photo: Erik Matti’s Facebook account

Do you think the government should help the movie industry? In what way? Tell us by leaving your comments below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.

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