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Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers: Women Power at the Box Office

By Arry Asiddao
March 08, 2024

Women have played a crucial role in the growth and development of Philippine cinema. In fact, the top four highest-grossing Philippine films of all time were directed by women. This remarkable feat not only challenges traditional gender norms but also underscores the undeniable talent and vision of female filmmakers.

However, it is important to recognize that a film’s box office performance is not the end-all-be-all of a film’s success. Moreover, the commercial success of female filmmakers only presents a partial view of gender equality in the film industry. Issues like pay gaps, discrimination, challenging working conditions, and instances of sexual harassment continue to prevail, necessitating further action to achieve true gender equality in the industry.

Discussing the emergence of powerful female figures in the film industry, specifically from major studios, like the now-defunct LVN’s Narcisa Buencamino-de León and Regal Films’ Mother Lily Monteverde, filmmaker and historian Nick De Ocampo notes, "They, too, are sucked into a chauvinist system that is hostile toward the expression of feminism… All these in order to regain capital and produce profit."

While the struggle for gender equality continues, the prominence of female filmmakers in the box office game suggests that an opportunity exists for women to break through the glass ceiling in the current mainstream landscape. Following the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Star Cinema announced that Rewind, a film directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar, became the first locally produced movie to reach P900 million in total sales, making it the highest-grossing Philippine film of all time. In celebration of Women's Month, we present a compilation of the top-grossing films by Filipina filmmakers to acknowledge the significant strides made by women in the industry.


Rewind (2023)
Mae Cruz-Alviar

Rewind tops the list of the highest-grossing Philippine films of all time, amassing an impressive ₱902 million at the box office. The movie, a collaboration between Star Cinema, APT Entertainment, and AgostoDos Pictures, was directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar, whose previous works include Crazy Beautiful You (2015), Can't Help Falling in Love (2017), and Four Sisters Before the Wedding (2020). Starring real-life couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, Rewind tells the story of a family man who is given a chance to travel back in time and change his past decisions in an attempt to reshape the present.

Photo Courtesy of Star Cinema


Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019)
Cathy Garcia-Molina

Known for her blockbuster rom-coms, Cathy Garcia-Molina cemented her position as a formidable force in Philippine mainstream cinema with Hello, Love, Goodbye. Starring Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards, this romantic drama was a huge commercial success with a total revenue of ₱880 million, making it the highest-grossing Philippine film before Rewind surpassed it. Produced by Star Cinema, Hello, Love, Goodbye follows two Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong who find respite in each other as they chase after their dreams.

Photo Courtesy of Star Cinema


The Hows of Us (2018)
Cathy Garcia-Molina

Another box office hit from Cathy Garcia-Molina, The Hows of Us captivated audiences nationwide, generating ₱810 million in revenue. Starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, the film delves into the complexities of long-term relationships, examining the sacrifices and compromises that underpin them. While the film embraces familiar Philippine rom-com tropes, its nuanced portrayal of relationships and the mature performances of Kathniel, who were an on-screen and off-screen couple at the time, make it a worthwhile experience.

Photo Courtesy of Star Cinema


The Super Parental Guardians (2016)
Joyce Bernal

Bb. Joyce Bernal, a prominent figure in the Philippine film industry, achieved massive success with her action comedy film The Super Parental Guardians, which grossed ₱598 million. Starring Vice Ganda and Coco Martin, the film's winning combination of humor and action delighted audiences of all ages, providing escapist entertainment when it premiered during the holiday season. Bernal, affectionately referred to as Direk Binibini by industry insiders, is known for her versatility, having directed a diverse range of films. Notable works include Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme (2009), Segunda Mano (2011), Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo? (2013) and the action thriller 10,000 Hours (2013), for which she received the Best Picture and Best Director awards at the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival.

Photo Courtesy of StarCinema

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