‘Les Mis-take’


Three of this year’s US awards season contenders—“Life of Pi,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”—opened in local theaters on Wednesday but the buzz that day was about yet another trophy magnet bound for Manila, though not until next week.

“Les Miserables” was to be screened for dignitaries, celebrities and the media in a strictly-invitational red-carpet premiere event at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Theater for the Performing Arts.

The 1,500-seat venue was about three quarters packed (not always an easy feat to pull) and it was a dream crowd, decidedly well-heeled: Save for a couple of courageous young women in distressed denims and hot pants (and a few artist-types who smugly flaunted hobo chic), many of the ladies turned up in black evening outfits with beaded shawls, or figure-hugging, leg-baring, shimmering cocktail dresses, on the arms of escorts in dark jackets.

Choice cuts from the “Les Mis” soundtrack were played, creating sing-along clusters, big and small, among members of the audience already seated.

Screening was to start at 8 p.m. after a 20-minute program—two speeches, plus a “Les Mis” medley by six theater performers with Maestro Ryan Cayabyab.

(In his short address, local distributor Solar Entertainment’s chair/CEO Wilson Tieng asked house technicians not to turn up the lights right after the screening, to give male viewers time to stop sniffling and compose themselves.)

When, after the mini-show, a 15-minute break was called “because the movie runs for two hours and 40 minutes,” a good size of the audience dashed to the comfort rooms but not a few sank back in their seats annoyed, sensing a red flag.

The soundtrack continued to play, but the intermittent community singing stopped altogether.  The guests had waited at least an hour at this point. Fifteen minutes became 40, at the end of which a “technical difficulty” was announced.  On the second such announcement, some celebrity guests started filing out. The third was a choppy fare-thee-well.  “Regret to cancel… technical problem… free tickets in exchange…”

Curiously enough, Newport Theater emptied out to a cackle of laughter and jokes. (“This is miserable!” “Les Mis-take!” and so on. Some wondered about the promised post-screening cocktails… and parking fee refunds.) The Pinoy sense of humor truly defies explanation. Or maybe letdowns, like a few other things, are just more fun in the Philippines.

Before midnight, Resorts World and Solar had issued an explanation:

“The scheduled by-invitation red carpet premiere of the movieLes Miserables” at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, was cancelled due to technical difficulties. For any inconvenience caused, guests will be issued free replacement tickets to the regular screening of “Les Miserables” at the Newport Cinemas from January 16-23, upon presentation of premiere invitations.”—Emmie G. Velarde

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  • boi skater

    A pretentious display that failed. Why can’t they just open it in the cinemas all at once like they do in many countries. Besides this movie opened weeks ago (Dec. 25, 2012) in many countries. Typical Filipino display of – oh look at me, I’m with the “special” people.

    • philip99_manila

      Mejo trying hard na ibang mga pinoy ngayun.. Manood na lang kayo ng mga palabas sa CCP.

    • barcelona03

      Boi Skater, movie premieres are not an exclusively Filipino activity.  Movie premieres are held in all countries where movies are shown.  So don’t call it a “typical Filipino display of…..”  Maybe you need to go out and see the world… 

    • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

      guess you were never invited to any of those things huh…instead of griping, why not try to  make more friends and show up at one of those events. all you need to do is make friends, trust me. those events are fun and the food is always top notch :) 

  • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

    for an event as big as backup plan? no creative solution?!?!?! why not use another theatre? why not call SM or Araneta and ferry the guests in the Resort World Shuttles? So, we can expect them to just go scott free? what if this were a PAID event?

    • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

      am still trying to fathom how a movie screening (where the copy is usually in a freaking HARD DRIVE) can go wrong in a place with multiple cinemas…

  • Albin

    Maybe the technician played a pirated version of the movie.
    Les Mis-take talaga.

  • lccruz

    poor organizers. they probably got a beating out of this.

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