Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Major in Applied Media Studies

Subject Categories

Film and Media Studies


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Edward S. Cabagnot

Defense Panel Chair

Clodualdo Del Mundo, Jr.

Defense Panel Member

Michael Kho Lim
Rica Leticia I. Arevalo


Film watching can be considered as one of the most popular cultural practices of Filipinos. It has been a part of their lifestyle since the 1940s. Likewise, Manila was once praised for its opulence and luxury; it was a proud playground of the cultured elites whose famous pastimes included watching films in grand cinema houses among others. Such edifices were designed elegantly and adorned intricately by world-renowned architects, making them true symbols of prestige.
Unfortunately, the popularity and physical aspects of these stand-alone cinema houses have deteriorated. These are caused by three main factors: dwindling number of moviegoers, digitization, and the presence and continuous development of mall-based cinemas. Most of these stand-alone cinemas have been reduced to an all-time low having been notoriously associated with sordid films and prostitution.
This study discusses the reasons behind the decline of stand-alone cinemas in Manila. Primarily, it attempts to explain why, out of the more than 50 pioneer movie houses, only a handful remains today. Why are some still in operation while others have closed? How do they situate themselves amid very stiff competition with mall-based and other contemporary cinemas? Have there been efforts from the government for their sustenance?
While locating this research in the general framework of media studies, it attempts to cross-reference it with cultural studies that seeks to account for the history of films, particularly the distribution and exhibition in stand-alone cinemas.
This research employed the case study approach. The data were collected through in- depth interviews with officers in charge of both currently functioning and former stand-alone
cinemas, and triangulated with heads of government agencies, particularly from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, as well as non-government and private entities.
The results of this study are significant for the owners and the management of stand- alone cinema houses. Both government and non-government organizations may likewise benefit
from this research by adapting policies to achieve greater conservation in light of uncertainties these stand-alone cinemas are currently facing. More importantly, it hopes to inculcate and ignite one¶V inWeUeVW in VWand-alone cinemas as part of the Filipino heritage.

Abstract Format






Physical Description

124 leaves


Motion picture theaters--Philippines; Theaters; Motion picture industry

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