Surviving Year 2021 | The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)


The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Year 2021 Low Ticket Sales
Surviving Year 2021 | The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)

The Metro Manila Film Festival (2021)

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2021 suffered a low turn-out, for a good reason. 

The movie ticket price is pointed out as one of the causes for the MMFF’s failure. You will spend at least 450 pesos to watch an MMFF 2021 entry. That is a significant amount of money during a time of uncertainty and when every peso saved is necessary.

Personally, I don’t want the festival to fail or run to a closure. That would be a very sad day for the common people who are working in the movie industry. But unfortunately, the behaviors of the producers, even before the pandemic, is heading to a trajectory of the festival's cliff dive. This is a big presumption from my end, and the festival might recover next year. But for the MMFF 2021, here is my personal opinion on why it generated low ticket sales.

Top Four (4) Reasons why the Metro Manila Festival 2021 was not a Success

The Threat of Covid-19 Remains

For the most obvious reason, only a few people would dare to watch the MMFF in cinemas because Covid-19 remains a threat. The Omicron variant was also reported to have spread in the country this December. This made a lot of people don’t want to risk their health by watching a movie inside a closed  room with several strangers.

Also, the restrictions of Covid-19 prevented senior citizens and minors from watching the film. As a personal opinion, the MMFF movies are not watched for the quality of the films. Rather, they are watched as a tradition or like a family gathering. Even before the pandemic, the MMFF was heavily marketed as a festival where families can enjoy a movie together. This common impression of the festival may have taken away one good reason to watch the films. Since surely, a family member will be left behind because of the restrictions.

Typhoon Odette Happened

Typhoon Odette happened one week before the opening of the festival. 

Cebu City was one of the badly hit cities of Typhoon Odette. And in the Visayas, Cebu could have contributed a significant amount of ticket sales. We can also consider the factor that some movie goers donated to charity to support the victims. Which left them only with enough money for their needs, and none for the movies of the festival. Or, audiences from Manila may have relatives from the Visayas and they may feel it was unnecessary to celebrate inside the Cinemas while someone they care about is in need of immediate help.

Failure to Maximize the Power of Social Media

I will make a big assumption here. 

The management of the MMFF and the movie producers did not maximize the power of social media to promote the movies. I have not seen any advert in any of my social pages, nor have I seen a video from a prominent social media influencer inviting people to watch the movies of the festival.

If this was the case, this might have been MMFF’s biggest mistake last year 2021. Everyone who has a smartphone is connected to at least one social media platform. Promoting the movies on Social Media could have reminded the people to go to the cinemas last December 25. They can even help the audience feel assured that health protocols will be followed. Or, if they paid social media influencers to promote the movies, it could have increased the festival's reach and popularity.

Recycled Plot

The MMFF is a festival. 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like all the plot of the movies are recycled. From their movie trailers, I can’t see any unique story for a film or some level of factor that will invoke excitement. The whole concept of a festival should have been a presentation of high quality movies as a year ender. But from the trailers alone, I can say that “I’ve seen that before”.

This perception of mine may be different from others. I only grew this level of criticality out of frustration, that wacky movies that lack quality will always win the festival. And others may have the same thinking as mine, thus resulting in the low turn-out.

Affordable Options are Available

The  MMFF movies can’t beat movies on Netflix.

A ticket of the MMFF costs around 450 pesos, while the mobile subscription of Netflix is only 149 pesos. And for the same price as the MMFF ticket, you can watch Netflix on four different devices to as many people as you can fit inside a room where your TV is. 

An affordable and lower risk to Covid-19 transmission is a wiser option. Thus, movie streaming apps like Netflix, present more value for money. And the MMFF 2021 was not ready for this realization of the masses. In the present condition, safety and affordability is a big factor.

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Year 2021 is no Spiderman

The launching of the festival against different challenges brought by the pandemic is a bold achievement. Successfully delivering the films to the willing audience is enough reason to celebrate. Since this means that the movie industry is still alive. 

But, the MMFF 2021 was not able to present a compelling reason why more people would watch their movies. Clearly, this was the case as seen by the collected revenue of the festival. You can observe on Social Media the level of excitement for Spiderman compared to the MMFF entries. This is because people are assured that Spiderman would be worth watching. And MMFF is more of a gamble. 

Though my personal opinion could be wrong, I am confident that the festival should rebrand itself on what quality films are, and what movies should only be included inside a festival. And clearly here, I am not a fan of the MMFF.  But I would still hope for the day that Filipino movies will regain their prominence and influence of excitement.


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