Tim Orbos says the box-office performance of the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival entries performed better than their expectations.
"Noong dumating po ako, nandiyan na ang mga pagbabago na nakita ninyo," said Orbos who is currently the acting chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and concurrent head of the MMFF.
"Yung ginawa ko lang naman ay abide by it and push for it.
"It was a risk that we all took dahil hindi po namin alam ang mangyayari. Hindi ko alam kung nilabas na ang results ng final kung magkano ang kinita.
"But we were expecting less."
However, Chairman Orbos did not disclose the actual box-office figures of the 42nd MMFF during the Pandesal Forum held at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City earlier today, January 16.
How much lower is the total box-office earnings of MMFF 2016 compared to the previous edition?
"Fifty percent at least," he said.
It will be recalled that the 41st edition of MMFF earned P1.020 billion from December 25, 2015 to January 7, 2016.
Prior to that, the 40th edition grossed P1.014 billion from December 25, 2014 to January 7, 2015.
Chairman Orbos believes that even though the Magic 8 did not generate ticket sales as high as previous editions, the chosen entries still enjoyed support from the public.
To date, Die Beautiful and Vince & Kath & James are still being screened in cinemas. The Director's Cut of Seklusyon was even screened to the public beginning last Saturday, January 14.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of dahil sa akin, alam natin kung ano yung pinasukan natin.
"I would even say na maganda nga na naka-50 percent. But it's not even done kasi those films have a life of their own after the festival.
"Kikita 'yan and they will have a market in the industry."
He also revealed that the new MMFF Executive Committee will be formed by the first quarter of 2017.
"I would like to push for it by February para paghandaan talaga."
Based on unofficial box-office figures disclosed by Star Cinema, the eight official entries earned P373.3 million from December 25, 2016 to January 3, 2017.
This period is four days shorter compared to the previous edition of MMFF.
(Read: How much did the MMFF 2016 entries earn at the box office?)
ON MOCHA USON. One of the most controversial moves of the MMFF Executive Committee this year was to get Mocha Uson as an ambassador of MMFF.
Chairman Orbos met with the sexy dancer-turned-blogger to tap her as an ambassadress of MMFF 2016.
With regards to his decision to tap Mocha, the MMFF executive pointed out: "I will say it now, hindi ko na nasasabi noong araw. Ako, alam niyo ho yung pagbabago should not be discriminating. It should be for all.
"She wants to help, we invited her. And nagtataka nga ako, why do we need to focus on her and not what she is doing for the festival? She was helping.
"So why not help? Why put a [political] color? Kung sa akin ho, regardless of what you were in the past, if you’re going to do something good now, then you’re welcome. Yun lang ho."
Without naming names, he observed that the most outspoken critics of Mocha were those who were advocating for change in the MMFF.
"Ang nakakatawa ho niyan, ang kadamihan po ng nagpopost were the ones who were calling for the change. Sila ho yung humingi ng pagbabago sa industry and yet sila yung nagsasabi ng ‘Ba’t mo sinasama 'yan?’
"Sabi ko, it should not be, e. Di ba, pag tayo ang humingi ng pagbabago, dapat lahat isama natin. Husgahasan na lang ho natin kung mali yung ginawa nila after sumama sila."
How would he assess the performance of Mocha as an ambassador?
"Yung ambassador kasi lagi yang pinag-aawayan, e," he admitted.
"[May nagtatanong] bakit kailangan ng ambassador? But an ambassador can be anyone, e. Sabi ko nga, we could have picked several ambassadors. We just stopped with her but sa akin: Number one, she has her own following.
"Number two, during the time that she was there as the MMFF ambassador, she never...hindi niya hinalo yung pulitika. Wala siyang hinalo, sinabi lang niya manood. I have to give that to her. But basically, yun."
"I have to thank her for that. Wala naman tayong, sabi ko nga tayo humihingi ng pagbabago tapos tayo magsasabi na ‘Ay, dapat kami lang magbago, hindi ka kasama.’ Paano magiging pagbabago yun kung namimili ka? I’m not making a statement, ganun lang ho ako mag-isip na para ho sa lahat, sa atin 'to. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong."
Was she effective as an ambassador?
"I think so," said the government official.
"Because there was focus...if you look at it in the marketing scheme, yes."
Would you still get Mocha as an MMFF ambassador next year?
Chairman Orbos pointed out: "She’s with already with the MTRCB [Movie and Television Review and Classification Board].
"That’s a decision that MTRCB should make if she’s going to be the one that they will assign. Hindi na po ako yun."