Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How much more money do you need to make?


This is my column for today, December 30, 2014.
As expected, the top three movies (I refuse to call them films) that dominated the box office in the ongoing 40th run of the Metro Manila Film Festival got royally snubbed by the jurors. The top three films snagged only one award—best child performer for Ryzza Mae Dizon.  In fact, at the risk of sounding like we want to rub salt to injury, it must be noted that the three movies failed to get nominated in many categories.  In the spirit of calling a spade a dirty shovel, the jurors declared the top three movies the worst of the lot.
The presidential sister who must not be named in this column, who not only lent her star wattage but in fact also bankrolled the movie she starred in, declared unapologetically on public television that she was quite happy with just the box office results, the critics and the jurors be damned.  After all, her movie, she said, had already earned the singular distinction of having made the biggest first-day gross ticket sales for a horror movie in the history of the Philippine movie industry.  The need to creatively invent distinctions is hilarious, even in a country that bestows titles and distinctions generously.   Did they really have to?
Some media networks made a big to-do with the fact that the President of the Republic, no less, spent Christmas day watching the two movies that featured his relatives.  It was a good thing nobody tried to make a spin equating his presence in the movie screenings to an endorsement of the two movies he watched.  And mercifully, he didn’t grant interviews after watching the movies; although it would have been interesting to witness how the President would have deflected questions about the overall quality of the movies or the acting skills of his sister and nephew.  That would have been a challenge even for people with superior diplomatic savvy.
So once again, the commerce versus art debate is on.  This time around, the embarrassing fact is that the inverse relationship is too glaring—the movies that got the jurors’ nod are not making money while those that were ignored are raking it in at the box office.  
I really meant to write mainly about what I thought were the developments and events in 2014 that made significant impact on the life of the nation but I was greatly annoyed by the continuing marketing blitz of the top three MMFF movies that continue to make a killing at the box office.  We are told that these movies already made hundreds of millions and the producers have already tripled, or even quadrupled their investment.  
The question I want to ask the producers and even the actors and actresses is:  How much more money do you need to make?  Or to put it bluntly, is there a limit to your greed?  One would think that these people would already be very happy and content with the gazillions that they have already made given the quality of the movie that they have foisted on the nation.   But they continue to appeal to the public to watch their movies!  
If they are truly concerned about sustaining the future of the movie industry that they claim to love, they should just be grateful for the undeserved fortune they have amassed and encourage people to go and watch the movies that truly deserve patronage.  For once, I would love to hear these actors and actresses tell people “Thank you for watching our movies, we’ve already made more than what we deserved—instead, please watch Bonifacio and English Only, Please.”
Anyway.  I think the most significant global development in 2014 has been the way social media has transformed into a platform not just for personal and political advocacies but even for business and other domains.  Most business organizations have started to build their presence in social media and have started to use the medium for advertising and product placements.  The people behind Facebook have already announced their intent to turn Facebook into the world’s global newspaper. This development represents a major shift in power and we will be seeing the many ways in which the shift will impact society in the next few years.

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