Wenn Deramas, the director of the Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy”, on Saturday said his movie breached the P400-million mark that afternoon, five days after the MMFF ended.
That amount would make the Vice Ganda comedy not only the festival’s box-office champion, ahead of first-week frontrunner “My Little Bossings”, but also the new highest-grossing Filipino film ever — beating last year’s festival top grosser, “Sisterakas”.
“Sisterakas”, which Deramas also directed and which was headlined by Vice Ganda, “My Little Bossings” co-star Kris Aquino, along with Ai Ai de las Alas, earned P393 million during its entire theatrical run.
On Sunday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman and MMFF overall head Francis Tolentino said that the 39th staging of the festival grossed nearly P1 billion from the 13-day run of all its eight film entries.
The P1 billion mark would be easily surpassed if the tally included the earnings of the films that enjoyed extended runs after the festival closed on January 6. Last year’s festival earned total sales of P767 million.
“With almost a billion pesos in overall box office, we are overwhelmed and so proud that the MMFF has managed to break records,”Tolentino said.
“But more than the money, and despite the issues that surrounds the festival every year, we have set out to prove, and actually proven that MMFF is a strong Filipino tradition that brings us together as a family despite the hardships that we’ve faced as a nation, especially this year with a hard hit from Typhoon Yolanda,” he added.
Curiously, Tolentino did not release any official figures, including the individual grosses of the entries.
He also did not acknowledge that “Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy” had surpassed “My Little Boy Bossings” after repeatedly announcing that the latter — which has Presidential sister Kris Aquino as co-star and co-producer — was the top grosser during the first week.
The “issues” he mentioned but did not specify could include the controversial snub of the entries “Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel” and “Boy Golden” during the awards night. Both movies received no honors despite earning positive reviews from critics. The action thriller “10000 Hours” — a fictionalized account of the life on the run of senator and rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson — swept most of the awards.
Tolentino said proceeds from the festival will benefit the Movie Workers Welfare Fund, the Film Academy of the Philippines, the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and the Optical Media Board.
A week before the festival opened, Tolentino was criticized by Film Academy director general Leo Martinez for failing to account for the funds that were supposed to be received by industry beneficiaries from previous stagings of the MMFF.