New top-grossing Philippine movie of all time


07:20 PM October 23rd, 2011

By: Nestor U. Torre, October 23rd, 2011 07:20 PM

Recent reports have it that there’s a new holder of the “title” of top-grossing Filipino movie of all time—the 2011 production, “No Other Woman,” starring Anne Curtis, Cristine Reyes and Derek Ramsay. After grossing P210 million (and still counting), it has reportedly eclipsed the earnings of past hits like the “Tanging Ina” movies, “Jose Rizal” and “Tanging Yaman.”

On top of that exceptional showing at the tills, the sensual drama has also gotten an “A” rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board.

First off, congratulations are in order for Star Cinema, the movie’s producer, for coming up with a new record-holder. Our recent review of the film indicates that we don’t think it deserves its “A” rating from the CEB, but if the box-office reports are correct, the movie’s popularity with viewers is definitely remarkable and commendable.

We believe that all movies should make money or at least break even, because that would give producers the incentive and wherewithal to keep on making films.

Quite a number of producers close shop after their first mainstream effort turns out to be a flop, so all of their other projects remain unproduced—a great cumulative loss for the industry as a whole.

In addition, a financially successful film indicates that it has been able to communicate with and entertain viewers well, and that’s no mean achievement, especially during these hardship years for the local mainstream movie industry.

So a hit should be celebrated, not just because it’s made mega-millions for its production company and financiers, but also because it has effectively connected with its intended audience.

Yes, some hits leave a bad taste in the mouth because they “talk down,” ponder or even insult their viewers. But it must be said that, for all its flaws, “No Other Woman” doesn’t do that.

So, instead of dismissing the production as just a commercial effort that has “lucked in” financially, we choose to look at it as an instructive indication of what local viewers go for this season, what resonates with them, what tickles their fancy, etc.

Other prospective filmmakers, both main and indie, might want to join the discussion, for whatever insights may result therefrom:

In our view, Ruel Bayani’s film was exceptionally successful in pleasing viewers, because it was trendily sexy, cast lookers who weren’t shy about sharing their “assets” and their liberated views by way of entertainingly frisky dialogue, and situated its story in the context of a glamorous, high-living and high-flying resort lifestyle that fulfilled viewers’ fantasies of forbidden love—with all the saucy trimmings!

Yes, the storytelling and performances were fraught with insufficiencies and/or excesses, but, taken as a whole, the entire production was a yummy full-course meal—with a moral lesson and happy ending even tacked on at its final-final coda.

After sinning so deliciously, the movie still ended up on the side of the savvy cinematic angels by not forgetting to say its belated mea culpa  to keep the bible-thumping naysayers in the audience at bay. Everybody (slap-) happy!

Now, we aren’t urging all other filmmakers to be as commercially savvy, all we’re saying is that the movie’s exceptional success was no fluke, and could teach other filmmakers a thing or two about the all-important goal of connecting with viewers.

Now, if only those lessons learned could be put to use in the service of better material, themes and portrayals, that would be really worth writing home to Mother about.

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