Movies & TV

Did ABS-CBN's Star Cinema Just Drop the Unfinished Darna Movie Despite Already Spending P140 Million?

It is reportedly a "business decision" by Star Cinema, the film company of ABS-CBN.
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/ @imjanedeleon
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The new Darna, starring ABS-CBN newbie Jane de Leon, has reportedly met its end.

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According to information attained by PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) from a reliable show business insider, Star Cinema has stopped all development on the latest Darna film.

It is reportedly a "business decision" by Star Cinema, the film company of ABS-CBN.

Darna's total production costs are said to have reached "P140 million."  

On June 2013, ABS-CBN was granted rights to Darna, the famous Filipino superhero created by comic legend Mars Ravelo.

Over the past seven years, the latest Darna film project has undergone many changes—from lead stars, directors, as well as movie scripts—due to unforeseen circumstances.

The latest version of Darna was supposed to star young actress Jane de Leon, who replaced Liza Soberano after she backed out of the project due to health reasons. Prior to Liza, Angel Locsin, who starred as Darna in GMA-7’s Darna TV adaptation in 2005, had signed onto the project but backed out, also due to health reasons.

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Darna Needs P100 Million More to be Completed

An industry insider told PEP that Star Cinema's total cost for the Darna movie has increased by P140 million, but so far, it is still unfinished. 

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From the star, the budget for the project was large as production was "all in" in regards to the effects for the film, which is a mix of fantasy, action, and drama. 

When Angel was still cast as Darna, the film had reportedly already spent "P20 million" for production.

During Liza's time, production expenses reached "P70 million".

When Jane was cast Darna, "P50 million" was spent for preparation and pre-production.

The PEP.ph insider explained that even though it has already been spent “P140 million”, an additional "P100 million" will be needed to complete the film. 

However, it will be difficult for the film to recover or break even if the production cost reaches P240 million. 

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According to the insider, another big challenge is pushing Jane de Leon as the title roller and star material.

He said that is not that easy to do because ABS-CBN's machinery is lacking now that the network lost many of its television and radio channels. 

On May 4, 2020, ABS-CBN's 25-year franchise expired, and National Telecommunication Communications immediately shut down the network's broadcast operations the following day on May 5. 

ABS-CBN applied for another franchise, but was denied by Congress on July 10.

Is ABS-CBN Offering Darna to Rival Networks? 

The big question now is: What will happen to Darna if it does not continue as a Star Cinema movie? 

It seems that one of ABS-CBN's possible actions is to recover what it spent on the film.

The insider said Darna was "being offered as a TV series."

ABS-CBN allegedly sent "feelers" to GMA-7 and TV5 in case any of the two are interested in buying the rights to make Darna as a series.

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So far, it is not clear if there has been a conversation between ABS-CBN and any of its rival networks.

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph and has been translated and edited by Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Rachelle Siazon for PEP.ph
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