The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Philippine government’s film body, has announced that a memorandum has been released which moves the theatrical premiere of local and foreign films from Wednesday to Friday.
Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 09-01, which was released on Tuesday following consultations with industry stakeholders ranging from film producers, to distributors, to exhibitors and moviegoers, will pave the way for the Philippines to follow most countries in the world to open movies on Weekends.
“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,” the film body said in a statement.
FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño adds that the MC was crafted as 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.”
In addition to the moving the premiere date, FDCP also imposed a minimum run-length of at-least seven days for every film booked for theatrical release.
Booked films will also have a theater assignment guarantee for its first three days “to avoid movies from getting pulled out of cinemas”, and will be assigned as “booked screens”, which means no split-screening, or a double exhibition for a single theater screen.
Split-screening refers to booking two films being screened on a single theater screen for one day, while Double exhibition refers to screening two films on a single theater screen for one price.
The government film body also says that a fair ratio of local and foreign films should be observed during regular screening days “to give local films a higher chance of being seen by the audience.”
The MC also adds that the ticket prices for students has also been adjusted to “encourage watching local films at the cinemas among the youth”.
Tickets for students of ages 18 and below will now be priced at PHP200 in Metro Manila, and PHP150 in the provinces every Wednesday.
Lastly, to maximize the film’s revenue opportunites in local cinemas, FDCP says that films that had been theatrically released in the country can only be released in other platforms after a holdback period of 150 days after its first day of exhibition.
This means that any theatrical film that had been released in the country can only be broadcast on television or be made available on streaming platforms after the holdback period.
The policies stated in the memorandum circular will take effect 15 days after its publication in a national newspaper, which should put its effectivity date on Wednesday, July 10.