BY: Rohn Romulo
FOLLOWING several consultations with the film industry stakeholders and the public, the Film Development Council of the Philippines has released Memorandum Circular No. 2019-01 with Policies and Guidelines on the Theatrical Release of Films in Philippine Cinemas.
“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 addresses the gaps that have long plagued our industry when it comes to screening films in commercial theatres,” said FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño, who spearheaded meetings and dialogues regarding industry practices since she came to office in 2016. Following several formal consultations with producers, theatres, and distributors to draft the contents of the guidelines, a public consultation with stakeholders was also conducted last April 25, 2019 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila. Partner government agencies like DILG, MTRCB, DTI-EMB, and the Office of the Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson were also part of the dialogues and have lent support to the development of the guidelines.
To push for Philippine cinema’s growth and development, new policies have been introduced via the MC which applies to both local and foreign films, including the switching of the theatrical release of local and foreign films nationwide from Wednesday to Friday to accommodate more potential moviegoers during the weekend. There will also be 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.
Booked films will be assigned with “full screens” for the first three (3) days of their exhibition. This means there will be no screen splitting, or a double booking and exhibition for a single theatre screen.
A fair ratio for booked Filipino and foreign films should also be observed in regular playdates to give local films a higher chance of being seen by the audience.
To encourage watching local films at the cinemas among the youth, ticket prices for students of ages 18 years and below will now be priced at Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00) in Metro Manila and a maximum of One Hundred Fifty Pesos (P150.00) in provinces every Wednesdays.
Meanwhile, films that have been theatrically released should only be screened to other platforms in the country after a holdback period of one hundred fifty (150) days after its first day of exhibition to maximize the movies’ revenue opportunity in local cinemas.
After the full contents of the circular has been released in a national newspaper this June 25, the policies and guidelines will take effect fifteen (15) days thereafter.