The turn-out was OK, it’s just that it wasn’t as big as what they expected,” reported Perci Intalan, one of the producers of Ivan Andrew Payawal’s boys’ love (BL) full-length feature, “Gameboys,” which was released in Japan at the height of the COVID-19 Omicron variant surge there in January.
The movie version of the well-loved BL franchise starring Elijah Canlas and Kokoy de Santos opened in 40 cinemas all over Japan, according to Intalan, who coproduced it under IdeaFirst Company.
“At the time, people were already starting to quarantine themselves in their homes. They plan to rerelease it. This was also why they couldn’t invite us there. They couldn’t tell if Japan would be open to foreign visitors at that time,” Intalan told Inquirer Entertainment.
The first season of the “Gameboys” series, which was originally released in the Philippines in 2020, was shown in a TV network in Japan between November and December last year. It will also be released on Blu-ray soon, Intalan added.
The second season, however, will premiere in the Philippines on May 22 to coincide with the celebration of World Gameboys Day. “We will release two episodes per week here. The Japan release will be later this year,” Intalan reported. “Also as part of the celebration, the movie will be released in Singapore on the same week. We’re just not sure if we would be able to travel because Kokoy and Elijah are both busy with other commitments.”
Intalan, however, added that they are still working on which streaming platform to release Season 2. The first season was streamed for free on YouTube. “We had to take down Season 1 because we weren’t given geoblocking privilege yet and we already agreed to release it in Japan. We needed to isolate it. We can’t guarantee that Season 2 would also be seen on YouTube,” he explained.
Asked what “Gameboys” fanatics should expect from Season 2, co-producer Jun Robles Lana said: “There are a lot of details from the movie that got expanded here, specifically the Terrence-Wesley subplot. The scenes you see in the film are just 20 percent of what’s in the series.”
Terrence is played by Kyle Velino, while Wesley is Miggy Jimenez.
“There’s also the subplots of Pearl (Adriana So) and Terrence-Cairo. There are so many aspects of the show to watch out for,” Intalan interjected.
“The new season also has a different feel in terms of storytelling. It’s going to be a different experience, even for the fans who have watched the movie many times,” said Lana. “The series is more romantic and intimate. The characters will be more daring, but the audience will be made to understand what led to that. They will really feel the lovemaking, not just between Cairo (Canlas) and Gavreel (De Santos), but with the other characters.”
Intalan added: “Even the ending is different. There are also new characters who will be introduced. All the characters in the film will have bigger participation here. You just have to wait for it.”
With Elijah and Kokoy both being busy with other commitments, many expect that the making of Season 3 would be far more difficult. Lana, however, assured supporters that they are committed to completing it.
“We’re continuously working on the script written by Ash Malanum. The moment the two actors become available, we will push for it. We believe in the script. It’s something that the fans will really love, especially because the movie is set somewhere really romantic. We’re all looking forward to going there to shoot. Hopefully, this will happen soon,” Lana told Inquirer Entertainment at the 2021 MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival) Appreciation Dinner hosted last week by the Metro Manila Development Authority, organizer of the festival.
Lana’s black comedy “Big Night,” bagged the most number of awards at the 2021 MMFF. However, just like the other festival entries, the film suffered from a low audience turn-out in cinemas.
Asked whether Lana found the experience disheartening, the director said: “You don’t really give up. You always want to do something for the industry. Because filmmaking is our passion, we just want to keep on working on various projects. Hopefully, we would be able to help revive the industry this way—I think that is the objective of most of us here. Whatever happens, we will keep telling stories. That’s what our industry needs right now.”
Intalan said their company, IdeaFirst, which coproduced “Big Night” with three other production outfits, still intends to earn from the film. “We just need to be creative in terms of how to sell it. Cignal TV is helping us arrange deals,” said Lana. INQ
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