By Alex Drechsler
INQUIRER.net U.S. Bureau
3:49 am | Friday, April 19th, 2013
MILPITAS, California—Filipinos thronged the April 12 opening-day of Star Cinema and Viva Film’s newest movie, “It Takes a Man and a Woman,” starring Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz.
On opening day, the romantic film was shown in largest theater, which holds more than 400 seats. By the time previews started, the room was filled to capacity.
Huge crowds surrounded the Century 20 Great Mall Theaters in Milpitas, the high demand to see the film resulting in nine showings scheduled per day during its screening course.
While it takes a man like John Lloyd (playing Miggy), and a woman like Sarah, to fill up the theaters and create a major buzz in the Fil-Am community, Filipino films have generally gained popularity these past several years.
In fact, mainstream theaters have been contacting Filipino companies to screen Tagalog films in their theaters. Currently, some 30 theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area show Filipino movies.
To be sure, the massive crowd and line that extended out of the theater in Milpitas consisted mostly of loyal fans of Geronimo and Cruz.
But something deeper is also at work. You can take the immigrant out of the Philippines, but not the Filipino from the immigrant.
“Through the films brought to America, viewers are able to keep in touch with the actors and actresses, both newly rising and already established,” says Melissa Sokukawa.
“We might not all stay updated with the latest celebrity news, but going to see these films is how I stay in touch with my favorite stars from the Philippines,” she adds.
Besides, she says, “I love romance and I love comedy—so this movie is the best of both worlds. I think it’s great because you can take the whole family and everyone can enjoy it. It’s really a feel good movie because there is an actual lesson that can be taken from it.”
Filipino American fans of Philippine movies follow their favorites stars on Filipino cable TV, with DVDs, on social networks and gossip columns in Filipino American newsweeklies.
Filipino restaurants often have their sets turned to Manila-based daytime TV shows for their lunchtime customers to watch while chomping down rice and kare-kare.
This third installment of Laida and Miggy’s story was highly anticipated by fans of the heart-throbs. They were intrigued to find out where relationship would go next. Hence, the impressive turnout, with the ticket line going out the door.
Moviegoer Bradford Adkins said, “I went to see the movie because I wanted to have a good time and a good laugh. I saw the previous two movies of Geronimo and Cruz that were hilarious—I had no doubt that this one would be anything short of entertaining as well.”
Another viewer, Rhuddee Vitug, said, “I wanted to see how good Sarah Geronimo is. I wanted to see her not only as a great singer, but also as a truly great actress. And after seeing this movie, she proved herself to me.”
Richard Lao, meanwhile, “fell in love with Sarah’s quirky character–I went to see this movie because the preview made me smile.”