Relationship Drama ‘Rewind’ Becomes First Filipino Movie To Take $16M At Global Box Office

A film about the impact of divine intervention on a failing relationship has become the first Filipino title to surpass $16M at the global box office.

Rewind crossed the the 900M Philippine pesos worldwide gross mark this week, a huge return for the local box office. The local record was previously held by Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019), which grossed 691M pesos.

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Anchored by the star power of real-life husband-and-wife Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, as well as buzz generated by word-of-mouth, the time-traveling romance film also broke the domestic box office record after grossing 848M pesos.

Directed by Mae Cruz Alviar, Rewind tells the story of the deteriorating relationship between married couple John (Dantes) and Mary (Rivera). After a divine intervention, John receives an opportunity to go back in time and make amends.

“We at Star Cinema knew that there was no other option but the two of them, because we couldn’t see how other actors could pull off the script,” said Kriz Gazmen, Head of Star Cinema, the film division of ABS-CBN Corporation.

The film’s international box office currently stands at 54M pesos, with the U.S., Canada and Australia as the top markets outside the Philippines, Gazmen told Deadline.

Rewind premiered on Dec. 25 during the Metro Manila Film Festival 2023. Gazmen said the film’s release at the festival was one of the key reasons for Rewind’s box office success, as no foreign films are allowed to be screened in cinemas during the festival’s run.

“Cinema tickets have also been very expensive here, which is why movie-going is now considered a luxury, but during the Christmas season, Filipinos have more disposable income because of the Christmas bonuses.”

He added that the word-of-mouth buzz and TikTok and Facebook contributed to the boom. “We have seen so many people posting videos of them crying after watching the film,” said Gazmen. “This led to a lot of people being so curious about the film, and they’d love to be part of the conversation. We definitely benefited from strong word-of-mouth.

“Who doesn’t want to be given the chance to be able to go back in time and try to rectify their mistakes? It’s a very emotional experience, but it’s introspective at the same time and it makes you question yourself if you’ve been a good person all along. For the Filipino audience, after the stress of the pandemic and the realization that our days on this earth are numbered, the film was a good cry that they might have held back all along.”

Rewind marks the first time in nearly a decade that stars Dantes and Rivera have appeared together in the same film. The project was first pitched to the pair in 2019.

The film lost its leading couple at one point — after Dantes and Rivera pulled out of the film during the pandemic to prioritize their family’s health. However, talks resumed in early-2023 and the Filipino duo came back onboard.

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