FDCP intros Friday movie premieres + other policies
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FDCP intros Friday opening, longer theatrical run for Filipino movies

No more Wednesday premieres. Yay or nay?

Event(s) featured:
FDCP memorandum release
Event date:
June 25, 2019
Event venue:
Cinematheque Centre Manila
Memorandum Circular No. 2019-01

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) introduced a number of policies yesterday, June 25 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.

Memorandum Circular No. 2019-01’s policies, which have been discussed across FDCP and other partner government institutions and consulted with film industry stakeholders, aim to “push for Philippine cinema’s growth and development,” according to the press release.

“This [Memorandum Circular] is the culmination of FDCP’s efforts to strengthen our industry practices and level the playing field for all our stakeholders – from film producers to distributors, to our exhibitors, and even the audience – through a transparent and fair set of guidelines that address the gaps that have long plagued our industry when it comes to screening films in commercial theatres,” said FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño.

FDCP chair Liza Diño, partner gov't agencies, and film industry stakeholders discuss new memorandum
FDCP chair Liza Diño, partner gov’t agencies, and film industry stakeholders discuss new memorandum

Below is a breakdown of everything that’s going to change following this move.

Movies will now premiere every Friday

Movies have always premiered on Wednesdays in the Philippines. It’s an odd placement, as many point out, because the traffic surges sometime towards the weekend. What happens is that less popular releases—local and indie films—get a major disadvantage over bigger-budget movies with bigger marketing spends.

By shifting the premiere dates from Wednesdays to Fridays, FDCP says there is now a fighting chance for our own movies to compete with Hollywood releases.

Theaters will start to show more local releases for longer

An even bigger issue currently is the length of stay of our own movies in our own cinemas. There would be cases where local films only stay for a couple of days before theater programmers decide to pull the plug in favor of a more profitable title (interestingly, it’s always a Hollywood movie).

Following the changes the FDCP wants to put in place, theaters will be forced to implement a “minimum run-length of at least seven (7) days for every film booked for theatrical release, as well as a theater assignment guarantee for the first three (3) days to avoid movies from getting pulled out of cinemas.”

It’s also worth noting that there were talks of having a “fair ratio” of foreign to movies, though the PR doesn’t say exactly what ratio.

Theaters can no longer double-book slots for local movies

Programmers will often double-book a cinema that’s supposedly for a local release and split it with a more profitable movie. FDCP thinks this is a big no-no and imposes a minimum 3-day “full screen” schedule, which makes the theater exclusively available to the movie.

Students get discount on admission tickets

Let’s look at the math. If you want to watch a movie, you’ll need to pay for the ticket (currently around PHP 280 to PHP 350, depending on the cinema), food, and gas/commute. If you add it all together, you’ll have to shell out about PHP 500+ for a single trip to the movies. Watching movies is expensive.

“Ang mahal manood dito.”

To encourage more people to watch in theaters, the FDCP imposes a lower ticket price for students. Students in Metro Manila can watch movies for PHP 200, while students in the province will have to pay PHP 150 only.

In our opinion, this doesn’t really address the issue of high ticket prices in general, but we’ll take what we can get. Inflation, as we’ve all came to learn, is a force.

Filipino movies can’t stream if they were theatrically screened

In a rather weird turn, the FDCP decides to impose a one-hundred fifty (150) day holdback period for movies that want to go on streaming platforms like Netflix, iflix, iWant, HOOQ, and others if the movie screened theatrically.

Obviously there’s a lot of complexities that are just waiting to prop up. Services like iWant, for example, produce some films that they intend to play in theaters as well as their platform.

We’ll have to wait and see how all this pans out.

Over to you

What do you think of this development? Sound off in the comments below.