Erik Matti: Film industry in ‘dire situation’ after low box office sales
MANILA, Philippines — Filmmaker and producer Erik Matti expressed concern about the film industry, saying it is in “dire situation” after recent movie releases were met with low box office sales.
“The state of our film industry, the business of it, is in a dire situation. Someone should do something about it. Government should intervene. This is not a slow death anymore,” Matti said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“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,” he added.
While the film industry has been at its busiest, Matti pointed out that film studios, including big ones, have not been “doing good business.”
“Hundreds of movies are being made now but no one is really doing good business including the big studios. What happened to our local audience?” he said.
Matti, co-founder of production company Reality Entertainment, also expressed dismay that recent releases, including one of theirs, were not received well despite all the “marketing and promising stories.”
The state of our film industry, the business of it, is in a dire situation. Someone should do something about it….
“The past three weeks several local movies were screened, including one of ours, and it didn’t make good business despite all the marketing fanfare. This week Regal and Viva premiered films and again it wasn’t received well at the box office despite all the marketing and promising stories,” he said.
Among the recent local releases are Reality Entertainment’s “Tol” starring Joross Gamboa, Ketchup Eusebio, Arjo Atayde, Regal Films’ “Elise” starring Janine Gutierrez and Enchong Dee and Viva Films’ “Hanggang Kailan” starring Xian Lim and Louise Delos Reyes.
“Even MMFF 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 just chose to deny it,” he added.
The “Magic 8” entries of the MMFF 2018 exceeded its target sales of P1 billion during its run from December 25, 2018 until January 7, 2019.
Matti asked, “Is it the online platforms killing us? Is it 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.”
“All I know is, we cannot go on making movies where no one sees them. We cannot blindly just trudge along busily working on our films without thinking about whether all this passion is really worth it,” he said. “We cannot keep on spending millions for movies that no one gets to see. This is alarming. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.”
Matti also recognized film festivals as venues where filmmakers can showcase their craft, but asked whether these films actually reach the audience it was made for.
“This industry nurtures its artists with our local filmfests. we look after our filmworkers with so many films being produced. We strengthen ties on our international filmfest connections. We revel on the little things we accomplish and splash it on big bold letters in the headlines,” he said.
“But are we really doing something for the film industry where it matters most? Are we really getting our films to the audience it was actually made for? Or are we just bringing them to the small audience we embarrassingly deserve?” Matti added. /muf
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