DAVAO CITY – The early pullout of the Metro Manila Filmfest winner “Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo (Bonifacio the First President)” from theaters by a big mall here due to poor ticket sales drew flak from progressive leaders.
The historical film produced and starred by top action star Robin Padilla as the leader of the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonization in 1896, was reportedly pulled out by the mall two days after the filmfest opened on Christmas Day.
The cinema replaced the movie with one of the top grossing movies of the filmfest.
The pullout irked Professor Mae Fe Ancheta Templa from ACT Teachers Partylist. She posted on her Facebook account that she and her companions were set to watch the movie last December 27, only to find out the movie was pulled out from the mall’s theatres.
“I was extremely peeved yesterday at SMDavaoCinema upon learning that the Bonifacio film was pulled out in favor of the well-advertised one and being queued. And that I told the movie house officer of the day this should be reported for appropriate intervention. He, (however) asserted that the pull out is sanctioned by MTRCB (Movie Television Review and Classification Board),” she posted on her Facebook account last Sunday.
Templa said they opted to watch the film in another mall.
“PISSED OFF. We swiftly walked, took a cab to catch the show at the other mall with a wild thought of seeking for a legislative inquiry on matters like this,” her post said.
Environment activist Doctor Jean Lindo also commented on her Facebook account why the mall failed to cater to moviegoers who prefer serious films.
“Asa tan-awon ang Bonifacio? Utang na loob nganong dili man magtabang ang SM og promote og worthy films like Bonifacio??? Ano ba? Kung feeling po ninyo hindi kayo kikita, then make it your Genuine Corporate Responsibility Program. Kahit na minority lang siguro sa tingin ninyo ang mga well-educated at intelihenteng peeps….market pa rin kami, okay?(Where can we watch Bonifacio? For Christ sake why can’t SM help and promote worthy films like Bonifacio? What? If you feel you are not earning, then make it a part of your genuine corporate responsibility program. Even if you think we well-educated and intelligent people are a minority, we are still a market you can serve, okay?)” her post read.
But SM Davao returned “Bonifacio” to its theatres after the Filmfest awards honored the film as best picture and with four more awards.
Templa commented that the theatre’s move was “opportunist.”
“Now that Bonifacio got five prestigious awards, all the more I want to raise questions on moves of cinema owners and MTFRB regarding (the) pull out,” she said.
“Bonifacio ang Unang Pangulo” is an independent effort by top action star Robin Padilla, who took a serious turn in this movie focusing on the life and tragic betrayal and death of the leader of the 1896 Philippine revolution against the Spanish colonization.
The movie had mixed reviews from movie critics, but they shared the consensus that the movie was technically superb and significant for reintroducing Bonifacio to the present generation.
Bonifacio is the only historical movie among eight filmfest entries. The film lagged behind in ticket sales to comedy films “Praybet Benjamin 2” and “My Big Bossing” and horror flicks “Feng Shui” and “Shake Rattle and Roll XV”.
The last historical film to bag major awards in the Filmfest was 1998’s “Jose Rizal”, directed by the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya, which swept 17 awards.
The Metro Manila Filmfest is one of the Philippine movie industry’s highlight event of the year showcasing top movie stars and directors. But movie critics bemoan the quality of movies in the filmfest of late for producing fantasy, horror and comedy movies that earn well commercially but paled in comparison to critically-acclaimed entries in the early years of the filmfest. (davaotoday.com)