Film directors react to Erik Matti’s lament about state of PH movie industry

Mike de Leon and Quark Henares. Photos from Henares and Citizen Jake’s Facebook accounts.

Filipino directors Mike de Leon and Quark Henares have now shared their views on why local movies haven’t been doing so hot at the box office, as a reaction to director Erik Matti’s rant last week saying that the Filipino film industry is in “a dire situation.”

De Leon and Henares posted their thoughts on  Facebook over the weekend and explained why movies haven’t been earning much recently. They said factors such as streaming, the high price of movie tickets, as well as the competition from Hollywood movies have contributed to the lackluster performance of local movies.

Writing on Citizen Jake‘s Facebook page, De Leon’s last movie, he highlighted something which Matti wrote last week on his account.

“Hundreds of big movies are being made but no one is really doing good business including the big studios. What happened to our local audience,” Matti’s post reads.

De Leon answered Matti’s question by saying: “My two cents: With the rising prices of food and gas, cheaper cellphones or the deteriorating political situation, maybe your local audience has more important things to think about than watch movies.”

Meanwhile, Henares came up with a more detailed response to Matti.

He wrote that he doesn’t think that a single Filipino movie has made money this year, which he attributed to a number of reasons, such as the expensive cost of tickets. He said that the price makes it out of reach of the average cinemagoer that’s why many of them watch movies only during the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Henares also said that the intense competition posed by Hollywood movies is also a reason. He believed that in the past, local movies could compete better against American films.

“Back in the day, you could pit a Ramon Revilla film head to head against a Clint Eastwood movie. Economies of scale just doesn’t (sic) allow that anymore,” he wrote.

Henares also blamed streaming services.

He asked: “Why go out, brave traffic, pay for parking and buy popcorn and drinks, spending at least PHP500 (US$961) for the whole ordeal when you can just stay home and binge — watch six episodes of You, paying the same amount per month?”

Henares is referring to the Netflix show You, a series that has become a critic and audience favorite since it debuted on the streaming platform in December.

Henares added that the government could help by cutting down on its taxes. He said: “There are a few things the government can do, like NOT TAX MOVIES TWICE OVER. Studios pay amusement tax and then VAT (Value Added Tax), so a movie has to make three times its cost to break even.”

In Matti’s post, he suggested that the government should intervene to save the industry.

“So what can we do right now? Not much. But do yourself a favor and go out to watch a Pinoy movie,” Henares said.

Henares said he just saw Elise, a movie produced by Regal Entertainment and plans to watch Tol, a movie produced by Matti’s own Reality Entertainment.

Henares also joked: “I’ll even go and watch Bato… no wait that’s going too far.”

Henares is referring to Bato: The Gen. Ronald dela Rosa Story, a biopic based on the life of Ronald “Bato (Rock)” dela Rosa. Netizens and artists called for its boycott because they believed dela Rosa was using the movie to endear himself to the public so he could win this year’s elections for senator.

Netizens also shared their opinions on the whole issue. Commenting on De Leon’s post, Emmanuel Clemente wrote that people don’t want to pay for movies because of their “bad scripts.”

Photo: Citizen Jake's Facebook account
Photo: Citizen Jake’s Facebook account

Commenting on Henares’ post, Norman Golez said there weren’t any “good quality” Filipino films for him to watch.

Photo: Quark Henares' Facebook account.
Photo: Quark Henares’ Facebook account.

Also responding to Henares, Eric Angeles wrote that producers should invest in good writers instead of actors.

Photo: Quark Henares' Facebook account.
Photo: Quark Henares’ Facebook account.

Ramil Dej had a different take than the rest. He said that products with no value will die and that culture will continue to survive even without movies.

Photo: Quark Henares' Facebook account.
Photo: Quark Henares’ Facebook account.

Do you agree with Henares or De Leon? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.


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