A total of 32,000 tickets were sold across 250 theaters nationwide in a single day, making Petersen Vargas’ “A Very Good Girl” the biggest Filipino movie of 2023.
Cinema is making a strong comeback around the world as moviegoers are now free to watch films in theaters once more. This year’s prime example was the unprecedented success of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, as well as Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. However, local cinema is also making its mark, the most recent example of this being the premiere of Petersen Vargas’ drama, A Very Good Girl, which stars actresses Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly de Leon.
According to Philstar, 250 theaters all over the country sold around 32,000 tickets on September 27 alone, grossing an impressive ₱10 million on its opening day. As such, the film is now the biggest Filipino movie of 2023.
There was already much anticipation ahead of the release of A Very Good Girl, as it marks Bernardo’s return to the silver screen since her role in the 2019 romantic-drama Hello, Love, Goodbye. It’s also her first film with de Leon, who was a nominee in this year’s BAFTA and Golden Globes for her performance in A Triangle of Sadness.
A Tale of Vengeance
The team behind A Very Good Girl consists of director Peterson Vargas, creative director Carmi Raymundo, and writers Marionne Dominique Mancol, Daniel Saniana, and Jumbo Albano. Also starring in the film alongside Bernardo and de Leon are Chie Filomeno, Jake Ejercito, Gillian Vicencio, Kaori Oinuma, Ana Abad Santos, Nour Hooshmand, Donna Cariaga, Althea Ruedas, Nathania Guerrero, and Angel Aquino, as per Manila Bulletin.
The film’s official premise and IMDb description is as follows: “After a heartless firing triggers a chain of unfortunate events, Philo (Kathryn Bernardo) plots a meticulous revenge against retail mogul, Mother Molly (Dolly de Leon), aiming to dismantle her empire and seize the ultimate payback. This time, there is no mercy.”
According to the Manila Bulletin, viewers have been praising the film and its powerful cast since its release. De Leon herself seemed to have no doubt about its impact on cinema; she stated it would “reopen the doors of Philippine cinema” in a grand media conference last month, as per Philstar.
“I have faith in the Filipino audience. I have faith that they are looking forward to watching homegrown work again,” she explained during the conference.
Enemies On Screen, Friends Behind the Scenes
Though de Leon and Bernardo are at each other’s throats for most of the film, the two co-stars share a very different relationship behind the scenes. Both have posted many pictures of them having fun together or praising one another’s work.
In a recent Instagram post, just a few days before A Very Good Girl’s nationwide premiere, de Leon posted a picture of Bernardo with a heartfelt message for her fellow actress.
“My very good girl, we’re about to reach the finish line of this insane journey and the sepanx is slowly creeping in so before our film hits the world let me thank you for being there for me, always looking out for me, supporting me in my other projects […], for being inclusive and making me feel comfortable in situations I’m not used to, for making me laugh, and for just being your crazy little you,” wrote de Leon.
“Many things are good and great about our film but you were the best ‘surprise!’ of them all. Thank you, Kath.Forever an honor. Forever on your side (alam mo yan). Love you to the moon and back,” she continued.
“Love u so mucho…” commented Bernardo on the post, followed by a tearful smiling emoji and white heart.
A Very International Girl
The film’s box office earnings in the Philippines precede its Hollywood premiere. A Very Good Girl is set to premiere at The Silver Screen, Pacific Design Theater in Los Angeles on October 4, as per Manila Bulletin. Both Bernardo and de Leon will be flying to the US to take part in the event.
Theatrical screenings of the film will start on October 6 in America. A Very Good Girl will also be making its rounds in other countries next month, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Guam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Nigeria, and the Middle East.
Banner photo via Instagram @starcinema.