‘Heneral Luna’ earns P240 million, breaks even
By now, producer EA Rocha is storming the heavens with prayers, giving thanks for the blessing.
Producer Fernando Ortigas, on the other hand, is still pinching himself in disbelief that their quixotic project became a smashing success.
Jerrold Tarog’s acclaimed historical film “Heneral Luna” has finally reached the P240-million mark, breaking even after five weeks in local cinemas.
A film has to earn three times its production budget for producers to recoup their investment, said scriptwriter and producer Rocha, and since “Heneral Luna” cost P80 million to make, its break-even point is pegged at P240 million.
Director Tarog, for his part, can’t wait to “get back to work.”
Actor John Arcilla, who played the titular revolutionary Gen. Antonio Luna, simply laughed off the possibility of being declared a box-office king.
Next time he sees Ortigas, Arcilla said, “I would hug him and thank him for believing in this film.”
Social media is a big part of the film’s success, they admitted. But the question still begs to be answered, why did people embrace and take ownership of the film?
People were fed up, they theorized.
Rocha said the film touched a raw nerve, specifically people’s desire for change.
Arcilla calls the film “cathartic,” asking questions on nationhood that Filipinos have long been asking.
Tarog told the Inquirer that Luna’s tragedy is symptomatic of “our disease as a nation. That our biggest enemy, then and now, is ourselves.”
Luna, known as the best general in the revolution against Spain, was betrayed and assassinated by his fellow Filipinos, Tarog recounted.
Tarog said that the success of “Luna” at the tills would hopefully pave the way for the two other films in the planned trilogy that includes biopics of other historical figures Gregorio del Pilar and Manuel L. Quezon.
Tarog said, “We will make formal announcements as soon we’re ready.”
Rocha called “Heneral Luna” a “game changer.”
“More importantly, I hope our film will herald a new wave of producers: fearless and mission-oriented … determined to uplift the standards of our industry,” he added.
“If established studios and producers will take the cue, they will see that the audience is ready for material that is sensible, non-formulaic. Hopefully, ‘Luna’ will set a new trend and standard in film production in the Philippines,” said Arcilla.
The battle field has become bigger for the general.
Screenings are set in the US and Canada soon. It will open in New York on Oct. 30, while screenings in various cities in Florida, Texas, California and Ontario will begin on Nov. 6.
Also, “Heneral Luna” was chosen as the country’s entry in the best foreign language film category of next year’s Academy Awards.”
“I still have another wild dream, that ‘Heneral Luna’ makes the short list in the Oscars,” Ortigas exclaimed.
Meanwhile, mall giant SM will bring “Heneral Luna” back to their cinemas nationwide. Arcilla posted on Facebook, ” SM will re-book our film. Long live audience power! The revolution continues.”
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