John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo in the 'It Takes a Man and a Woman' movie poster (Courtesy of Star Cinema)
The success of “It Takes a Man and a Woman,” the third in a rom-com series that follows the characters Miggy Montenegro and Laida Magtalas, is a grand slam of sorts for John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo, director Cathy Molina and producers Star Cinema and Viva Films.
It shows how the movie industry can move forward and regain its lost glory.
It just needs to follow all the good things this film has done. From the captivating story line to the execution of all production elements, including design, cinematography, and editing, the movie hit the sweet spot among Pinoy audiences.
Nearly a billion pesos in revenues
With the changing tastes and preferences of audiences, Filipino producers grapple and even struggle in formulating the right mix to come up with a blockbuster film. Yet, this series has remained consistent, raking up a total of nearly a billion pesos in box office receipts.
This is one incredible feat.
Producing a sequel, much less a series, is always a risk any studio—whether n the Philippines or even in Hollywood—would take. Especially when it comes to a rom-com, it’s particularly difficult to maintain the same appeal, impact, and interest among audiences.
Sequels are hard for rom-coms
Of course, the Metro Manila Film Festival has seen the browbeating of this formula—from “Enteng Kabisote” to “Agimat” to the never-ending “Shake, Rattle & Roll” franchise predictably re-worked year in and year out.
But, those movies are fantasies, able to reinvent itself again and again on concept alone.
It’s a little more difficult with rom-coms.
How to capture charm
And especially when it comes to well-loved characters. How do you recreate the charm they brought previously to the box office within a believable story?
The key lies in the creative team. In the case of “It Takes a Man and a Woman,” it’s how writers crafted a script that’s genuine, catchy and identifiable.
It’s how direk Cathy came up with scenes so beguiling, no one can get enough of Miggy and Laida whenever they are on screen.
The rejection that paid off
Ironically, the Miggy-Laida characters were conceived because of a rejection.
The producers originally planned to have John Lloyd and Sarah star in a remake of Sharon Cuneta’s 1981 hit debut film “Dear Heart.”
When Sharon frowned at the idea, saying that the first movie that launched her career was too near and dear to her to be re-told, the producers went back to the drawing board. That is when they saw the opportunity to create something fresh and original that the viewing public would cherish.
Their efforts paid off.
Meager budget for first movie
Unsure how the public would receive “A Very Special Love,” given that John Lloyd had been more widely known for his pairing with Bea Alonzo and that a team-up with the Pop Princess was not tested, the producers gave the movie a meager budget.
The movie, which was released in 2008, made P180 million—the biggest at that time. The sequel, “You Changed My Life”, was released the following year and earned even more at P225 million.
With that winsome team-up, people came in droves to watch Filipino movies again, even if it wasn’t the Christmas season. It opened the door for such 2011 films as the Anne Curtis-Derek Ramsey-Cristine Reyes starrer “No Other Woman” and Vice Ganda’s “The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin” to break box office records.
Will ‘ITAMAAW’ outgross ‘Sisterakas’?
Their latest installment, “It Takes a Man and a Woman,” is breaking records of its own having the biggest opening day take for a non-Metro Manila Film Festival entry at P32 million. As of this posting, it has breached the P200 million mark just going into its second week in theaters.
Statistically, it has the potential to eclipse the recent record of the Vice Ganda-Kris Aquino-Ai Ai delas Alas monster hit “Sisterakas,” which has grossed P391 million—currently the highest earning Filipino movie of all time. This is a milestone because it is not the traditional season of MMFF films when all foreign competition is squelched.
This is a very encouraging trend and shows that the movie industry is really not “dying” but rising again.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed.