MOVIEGOER: The case of movie houses’ opening


JUST A THOUGHT: Happiness is the best cosmetic.— Karen Duffy

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MOVIEHOUSES BACK: Are movie houses back in operation?

I keep on reading posts on Facebook that our colleague, Mell Navarro, has been enjoying himself watching movies at SM Marilao in Bulacan.

Only a small number of people are being admitted, says Mell. According to SM vice-president for communication Millie Dizon, cinemas in MGCQ areas are now open. At the other end of town, at SM Mall of Asia, movies are being screened every now and then at its open-air concert grounds. Premiered in the venue recently was Peninsula, sequel to the worldwide thriller hit, Train to Busan. Wonder if a follow-up has been made.

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DRIVE-IN THEATER: Showing films in an open-air setting calls to mind the concept of America’s drive-in theater. It was a popular entertainment fare among young people in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Teenagers would go on Saturday night dates by checking in to a drive-in theater. There would be stalls on the side where they could buy soda, hotdog and popcorn. They would choose designated parking for their cars from where they could watch the movie. A large outdoor movie screen, usually painted white, stood in the middle of the parking lot. The movie's sound was provided by speakers on the screen, or by individual speakers hung from the window of each car.

At its peak, it is said that there were as many as 4,000 drive-in theaters across the United States in the late 1950s.

There are currently only about 330 drive-in theaters that remain in operation in the United States, according to Wikipedia.

New trends in entertainment, like the emergence of cineplex, home theater, digitalization, social media, among others, killed the drive-in concept in watching movies.

Curiously, it took a nationwide pandemic to revive the drive-in theater in the Philippines, although in a much limited capacity. I hear a similar drive-in theater operates in SM Clark

Outside of the US, drive-in theaters are also open in Australia, Iran, and Italy.

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Liza Dino FIFTY PER CENT ONLY: When are movie houses going to open formally in the country? While no confirmation is yet in sight, Liza Dino, chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, says she welcomes news that government will soon allow reopening of movie houses to the public. Dino says she will, however, call on the public to follow strictly government protocols against Covid-19. She also welcomes the proposed 50 per cent seating capacity per movie house as proposed by the IATF if and when movie houses will be allowed to operate again. Liza says she hopes the country can follow in the example of South Korea and Singapore which have reopened their cinemas.

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MOTHERHOOD FESTVAL:

Meanwhile, Ms. Dino announced that rain or shine, Covid-19 notwithstanding, the 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) is pushing through as scheduled with over 168 Filipino films participating.

Held online for the first time, PPP-4 runs from October 31 to November 15 on the agency’s new FDCP Online Channel.

At a recent online mediacon, I couldn’t help but tell Liza Dino that this year’s PPP looks like the mother of all film festivals. Its roster of films includes entries from other filmfests, classics, and re-issues from the major studios. PPP-4, she said, is designed as a solidarity move in the wake of the ongoing pandemic and certain skirmishes the FDCP leadership has met with some sectors in the industry. Thank God all that is over now, hopefully. Proof of this is the support being thrown the PPP by the MMDA, the agency tasked to handle the Metro Manila Film Festival. The agency bought 250 PPP tickets from FDCP.

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