Hollywood and the Philippine Cinema Industry


It is hard to imagine an America without a Hollywood, the “dream workshop” of the world and purveyor of American interest and way of life.

Hollywood entertains, educates and sets the trend in many things for the world to follow.  For such a small place (a district in Los Angeles, California, USA), its influence on the popular culture and psychology of the world is phenomenal, transcending geographical and sociocultural boundaries.

Hollywood movies usually deal with themes that depict the ideal and the heroic in men and society.  Yet there is nothing so ideal or heroic about the lives and lifestyles of many of its celebrities who seem to thrive on controversial and scandalous acts, defying social and behavioral norms.  Oddly enough, their audiences adore them the more for it.

The advent of television and the Internet (both of which provide a wide variety of home entertainment media) has had little if any effect on the performance of Hollywood movies at the box office.  Why the enduring popularity of Hollywood movies and celebrities? 

For one, an action-packed movie with, say, Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger ridding the world of bad guys in “mega explosive” fashion, on the big screen and in surround sound,  provides the viewers with a couple of hours of memorable entertainment and momentary respite from life’s cares and worries.  Big budget science fiction, fantasy, romance and comedy pictures are also popular among moviegoers.

Hollywood celebrities are also among the most admired people on earth, for both their professional success and opulent lives.  Even the excesses of a Mel Gibson or a Paris Hilton or a Britney Spears and a host of other Hollywood celebrities who all seem to get away with their “misbehavior” are oddly viewed by their legions of fans as something admirable, even desirable.  All the other famous and admired people “outside” of Hollywood do not enjoy the same “luxury and privilege” of treatment by the press and the general public.  Finally, modern information technologies provide Hollywood with more efficient and wide reaching platforms for the mass promotion of its products and community image.

In the Philippines, the competition posed by Hollywood to the local cinema industry is literally out of control, which prompted an industry analyst to wryly observe:  “it (Hollywood) is bulldozing the local market”.  As if this is not heavy enough a burden to carry, the industry also suffers from unreasonably high government taxation — one of the highest if not the highest taxed among ALL local industries.  A released movie is imposed 30% amusement tax, on top of the 12% value-added tax and income tax, which means that a locally produced movie must gross about three times its capital in order merely to break even.  The proliferation of pirated movies is also a major headache for the industry (a pirated DVD movie costs anywhere from 50 to 80 pesos, whereas a movie ticket costs 100 to 200 pesos), which deprives local movie producers of income from their investment and labor.

On the part of the industry, limited production budget and time makes it virtually impossible for locally produced movies to compete against Hollywood movies that are supported by seemingly inexhaustible funds and distributed worldwide.  The rise of “pito-pito” (full-length movies that are processed and completed in just seven days of shooting) exemplifies the consistent decline of Filipino movies.  Yet Bollywood and the vibrant South Korean cinema industry have both shown us the way to compete against Hollywood movies in both local and international markets.

For its part, the government should seriously consider the various industry proposals from tax rebate to investment incentives to the imposition of higher taxes on imported films (instead of local movies) or a cap on the number of foreign films being distributed in the country.  The industry, after all, provides inexpensive entertainment to millions of Filipinos in these times of crisis, contributes to the economy, and can be an excellent foreign exchange earner in countries where millions of Overseas Filipinos reside and/or work.

Published 06 July 2011


Past and present Philippine movie celebrities (in alphabetical order)


Aga Mulach




Alma Moreno





 Amalia Fuentes 




 Ann Curtis





 Ara Mina 





Anita Linda




Armando Goyena




Barbara Perez




Cezar Montano (with wife Sunshine Cruz) 





Charito Solis




 Christopher De Leon





Corazon Rivas




Daisy Romualdez




Delia Razon




 Dingdong Dantes





Dolphy Quizon




Eddie Garcia




 Eddie Gutierrez





Eddie Rodriguez




 Edu Manzano





Efren Reyes




 Fernando Poe, Jr.





Fred Montilla




 Gabby Concepcion (with ex-wife Sharon Cuneta)





Gloria Romero




 Hilda Koronel




Jay Ilagan (with Vilma Santos)




 John Lloyd Cruz





Joyce Jimenez 





Juancho Gutierrez




  Judy Ann Santos





Lani Oteyza




Leonor Vergara




Leopoldo Salcedo




Leroy Salvador




 Lito Lapid





Lolita Rodriguez




Lorna Tolentino 





Lou Salvador, Jr.




 Lovi Poe





Luis Gonzales




 Luis Manzano





 Marian Rivera




  Maricel Soriano





Mario Montenegro




Marlene Dauden




Nestor De Villa




Nida Blanca




 Nora Aunor





Pancho Magalona








Piolo Pascual




Ramon Revilla





Ramon Revilla, Jr.





Ric Rodrigo




 Richard Gomez





Richard Gutierrez




Rita Gomez




 Robin Padilla





Rogelio Dela Rosa




Romeo Vasquez




Rosa Rosal




 Rosanna Roces




Rudy Fernandez





 Ruffa Gutierrez




 Sarah Geronimo





 Sharon Cuneta





Shirley Gorospe




 Susan Roces





Tirso Cruz III (with wife) 





Tita Duran




 Vic Sotto





 Vilma Santos





Zaldy Zshornack




Past and present Hollywood celebrities (in alphabetical order)


Al Pacino



Alec Baldwin




Andy Garcia 





Angelina Jolie




Arnold Schwarzenegger




Ashley Judd 




Barbra Streisand




Betty Davies




Bo Derek



Bob Hope 




Brad Pitt




Brooke Shields 





Bruce Lee 




Bruce Willis




Burt Lancaster




Burt Reynolds 




Cameron Diaz




Cate Blanchett 




Catherine Zeta-Jones 




Charles Bronson




Charlie Chaplin




Charlie Sheen




Charlize Theron 





Charlton Heston




Christian Bale





Christopher Reeves 




Clark Gable




Claudia Cardinale 




Clint Eastwood




Dean Martin 




Demi Moore




Denzel Washington




Doris Day




Drew Barrymore




Dustin Hoffman




Eddie Murphy 




Elizabeth Hurley 





Elizabeth Taylor




Elvis Presley




Farrah Fawcett




Frank Sinatra




Gary Cooper 




George Hamilton




George Peppard




Goldie Hawn 




Grace Kelly




Gregory Peck 




Greta Garbo




Gwyneth Paltrow




Halle Berry




Harrison Ford




Henry Fonda 




Hilary Swank 




Hugh Grant




Humprey Bogart




Ingrid Bergman




Jack Nicholson




Jack Palance 




Jacky Chan 



James Coburn 



James Dean




James Stewart 




Jamie Lee Curtis 





Jane Fonda



Jane Russel



Janet Leigh




Jennifer Aniston




Jerry Lewis




Jessica Alba



Jodie Foster 




John Travolta




John Wayne




Johnny Depp




Jon Voight




Jude Law




Judy Garland 



Julia Roberts




Julianne Moore 




Julie Andrews




Kate Winslet 




Katie Holmes





Kevin Costner




Kim Basinger 




Kirk Douglas




Kurt Russel 




Leonardo DiCaprio




Liam Neeson 




Lindsay Lohan




Liza Minnelli 



Marilyn Monroe




Marlon Brando




Martin Sheen




Matt Damon 




Meg Ryan 




Mel Gibson




Meryl Streep




Michael Douglas 




Michael Jackson



Michael J. Fox 



Michelle Pfeifer



Morgan Freeman 



Nicole Kidman



Olivia de Havilland




Olivia Hussey 



Omar Sharif 



Orlando Bloom




Pamela Anderson 





Paris Hilton




Patrick Swayze 




Paul Newman




Penelope Cruz 




Peter O’Toole




Pierce Brosnan




Queen Latifah 



Reese Witherspoon 




Renee Zellweger 




Richard Burton



Richard Gere



Robert De Niro



Robert Mitchum 



Robert Redford 



Rock Hudson




Roger Moore 




Russell Crowe




Ryan O’Neal 




Salma Hayek




Sammy Davies, Jr.







Sarah Jessica Parker 




Sean Connery




Sharon Stone 



Sidney Poitier 



Steve McQueen




Steven Segal 




Sophia Loren




Susan Sarandon




Sylvester Stallone




Tatum O’Neal 




Tom Cruise




Tom Hanks



Tony Curtis



Uma Thurman




Ursula Andress 



Vanessa Redgrave 



Warren Beatty



Whoopi Goldberg



Will Smith




Winona Ryder 




Woody Allen 



Yul Brynner 



Zsa Zsa Gabor