When the highly-awaited annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) started on December 25, 2021, there was an unusual lack of moviegoers and an absence of long queues in cinemas around the Metro. According to entertainment journalist MJ Felipe, day one of MMFF had a really low turnout– there was no crowd and the line was short at the Glorietta 4 cinemas. There were also low turnouts in SM MOA, Megamall, and Trinoma.
Some Filipinos online have expressed their opinions about MMFF’s low turnout on social media, believing that the reason for the MMFF’s low turnout is due to the delayed screening of Spiderman: No Way Home which is premiering in early January in the Philippines (this film premiered in December in most countries).
A viral Facebook post headlined with “Netflix DID NOT KILL Philippine Cinema” encapsulates what many people believe MMFF 2021 is telling us: We’re seeing the slow but imminent death of Philippine cinema.
On the other hand, there is a post from film producer-manager Noel Ferrer. He believes that as Filipinos, we should continue to support our local films. “Ipagpatuloy natin ang suporta at pagmamahal sa pelikulang Pilipino. Sa huli’t huli, sino nga ba ang magtutulungan kundi tayo tayo rin naman, di ba?”
(Let’s continue to support and love Filipino films. In the end, who will work together if not us, right?)
Whether or not the reason for the low turnout is due to the pandemic, or bad weather, or the delay of the latest Spiderman movie, one thing is clear: There is truth to the claim that the masses have learned to appreciate quality films, and this incident should serve as a call for MMFF selections to be worthy of the time and money of moviegoers.
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