THE 35th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) was not able to surpass the target gross of P500 billion.

During the festival week, Ric Camaligan, member of the MMFF Executive Committee, told Sun.Star that they are eyeing to surpass the P451 million gross in 2008 and to reach half a billion in 2009.

But at the closing date of the MMFF, the total gross of the festival was P13 million lower than the previous year.

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In a follow up interview, Camaligan said that though the festival was not able to beat the P451 million gross in 2008, the turnout is still way positive for the movie industry especially with what we experienced as a nation in 2009.

“The calamities that affected the country last year (2009) were something not present in 2008,” added Camaligan. “So malaki yung impact noong calamities.”

Typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng and more, which struck the Philippines late September to early December, greatly affected the festival, according to the MMFF official.

He also said the number of movie entries in the 2009 MMFF also affected the festival week. “We tried to analyze things and basically the seven movies versus the eight last year (2008) is one big factor.”

Before the December 25 opening of the MMFF, initially there are eight entries included in the festival but Regal Entertainment's “Nieves" backed out on the last minute.

“Toward the end of November we were informed that Nieves, had to back-out because the line producer is very sick,” Camaligan said.

“Nieves,” starring Marian Rivera, could have completed this year's MMFF entries.

Wapakman

Sun.Star also asked Camaligan on his analysis on the low turnout of "Wapakman."

Camaligan said the gross of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao's movie is the same with his two prior films.

“We had two previous movies with Pacquiao. The two movies had almost the same turnout which means as if Pacman is really not yet accepted as an actor in a movie but more of a boxer and a fighter,” he said.

Camaligan added that “Wapakman” had technical concerns days before the festival.

“The digital movie was not release immediately in theaters on the first day of the showing because they had technical difficulties,” he said. “Wapakman might not have intense marketing and selling of the movie unlike the top grosser Ang Panday.”

“Ang Panday” ended the 2009 MMFF as the number one in the box office with P99.4 million followed by “I Love You, Goodbye” with P94.3 million.

Vic Sotto's “Ang Darling Kong Aswang” settled third spot with a total gross of P89.6 million followed by "Shake, Rattle and Roll XI" with P77.6 million.

Regal Film's "Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love" is on fifth place with P42.0 million followed by "Nobody, Nobody but Juan" at P31.9 million while Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao's "Wapakman" finished MMFF 2009 with P2.6 million. (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)