Ejercito blasts 'unfair' MMFF theater distribution

Posted at 12/25/12 2:56 PM

Laguna Governor and “El Presidente” star E.R. Ejercito (center) join the rest of the cast of "El Presidente" during the Metro Manila Film Festival's Parade of Stars last Sunday. Photo by Nimfa Chua for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA, Philippines – Laguna Governor and “El Presidente” star E.R. Ejercito on Tuesday criticized the system of theater distribution for the Metro Manila Film Festival, calling it “unfair.”

Ejercito stars in the MMFF entry “El Presidente,” a biopic of hero Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The movie, along with the seven other official film fest entries, opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day.

According to data provided by Ejercito, there are an estimated 300-plus theaters in Metro Manila that were raffled off to the eight MMFF entries. This means that each movie should have 44 theaters.

The figure does not include moviehouses in the provinces, which Ejercito claimed are booked by producers through a “palakasan system.”

He said the simultaneous nationwide showing of the MMFF entries is being done to avoid piracy.

Ejercito then provided the total breakdown of theaters for each MMFF entry, which he called “unfair.”

“Si Agimat, Si Enteng at Si Ako,” starring Vic Sotto, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Judy Ann Santos, and “Sisterakas” with Kris Aquino, Vice Ganda and Ai Ai delas Alas are showing in 130 theaters each, according to the data provided by Ejercito.

The horror franchise “Shake Rattle and Roll 14” is showing in 70 theaters, while the drama “One More Try” with Angel Locsin, Dingdong Dantes, Angelica Panganiban and Zanjoe Marudo has 60 theaters.

Ejercito’s movie “El Presidente” is showing in 51 theaters, followed by “Thy Womb” with Nora Aunor with 43 theaters and“Sosy Problems” with 40 theaters. “The Strangers,” despite its young cast which includes Enchong Dee and Julia Montes, has only 40 theaters.

Ejercito said computing for the top-grossing movie will be “an unfair judgment” for the six movies that got only less than 80 theaters each.

“MMFF should change this unfair system,” he said.