GMA tested the movie waters by co-producing films with Viva Films. Among the movies that were co-produced were "Ober da Bakod the Movie", "Kalabog en Bosyo", "Forever" and "Sana Dalawa ang Puso Ko". Although not credited in the opening and closing credits of the movies, the network's logo appeared in the aforementioned movies' posters in theaters and newspaper ads.
First founded in 1995 under the supervision of Jimmy Duavit and Butch Jimenez, GMA Films released certain films from 1995 to 1998 under its former title "Cinemax Films", starting with "Run Barbi Run". After its initial production, a co-production arrangement with Octo Arts Films was made where Octo Arts would produce and distribute the movies in theaters nationwide while Cinemax (through its mother network GMA-7) will handle publicity and promotions for TV and radio. GMA Network holds the airing rights for the said movies. In 1998, it changed its name to GMA Films after international movie channel HBO created a separate movie channel called "Cinemax". The same year, GMA received critical and commercial success for the following movies it produced, "Sa Pusod ng Dagat" and "Jose Rizal", both directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya. In 1999, it also produced "Muro-Ami" and in 2000, "Deathrow".
When Felipe Gozon took over GMA Network, the film production outfit of GMA Network was placed on hiatus for about 5 years.
After almost five years of hibernating, the film outfit made a comeback in 2005 with the romantic movie Let the Love Begin, which became the highest-grossing Valentine film in the Philippines on its release that year.
It later released other films that also became hits in the Philippine Box-office.
In 2007, the award-winning film Ouija co-produced with Viva Films was supposed to be its first film to be released internationally. However, the scheduled overseas premieres in four U.S. cities (Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego) were cancelled. Only the one in New Jersey pushed through. The movie is titled Seance internationally.
In September 2011, there are speculations going around as to whether the upcoming film, The Road, will be released internationally as the director Yam Laranas has expressed for the film to be released worldwide and he himself said that he will help finance the release worldwide.
GMA Films logo used from September 2011 to May 2014.
On January 24, 2012, it was announced by GMA Films Producer Joey Abacan that The Road will be screened in cinemas in the U.S. and Canada. This marks the first time GMA Films premiered one of its films without any negotiations with co-produced because The Road is solely produced by GMA Films. It is scheduled to have a U.S. and Canada theatrical release on May 11, 2012.
2012 is the year that GMA Films has produced eight films in a year, the most it has ever done since its very start. This was part of GMA Films' resolution to produce one film per month. Even though that did not happen, they managed to produce eight films.
In a 13-page decision penned by Associate Justice Stephen C. Cruz dated April 30, 2012, the Special Thirteenth Division of the CA reversed and set aside the Regional Trial Court's (RTC) dismissal of the case owing to Honrado's violation of a TV Rights Agreement with GMA Films.
In December 1998, GMA Films entered into an agreement with Honrado covering thirty-six (36) films, which the latter offered for telecast. The agreement states that the program titles are subject to the approval of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB); and in the event of disapproval, a censored title must be replaced by the licensor with a new title acceptable to both parties, or a proportionate amount shall be deducted or refunded from the total price.
In May 2003, GMA Films filed a complaint for payment and damages against Honrado with the RTC for his refusal to refund the payment for the movies "Evangeline Katorse" and "Bubot."
The former was initially rejected by GMA Films so Honrado attempted to replace it with the movie "Winasak na Pangarap." However, the replacement, being a bold film, was also deemed unacceptable for airing.
GMA Films also contended that only P500,000 went to the owner of the movie "Bubot" out of the P1.25 million paid by GMA Films to Honrado.
GMA Films therefore demanded that Honrado return the total amount of P2 million representing the P1.25 million it paid for the movie "Evangeline Katorse" and P750,000 as balance from the amount Honrado received for the film "Bubot."
The CA ruled that GMA Films is within its rights as a licensee to demand a suitable replacement for the movie "Evangeline Katorse" based on the express terms of the contract. After the film "Winasak na Pangarap" was not accepted by GMA Films as a suitable replacement for "Evangeline Katorse," Honrado had the duty to either find another title acceptable to both parties, or to return the money paid by GMA Films in the amount of P1.25 million.
According to the Court, Honrado, not being the owner but only the licensor of the film "Bubot," is not entitled to any commission and has no right to retain any amount in excess of what was paid to the movie owner. The CA likewise said that the RTC erred in awarding Honrado attorney's fees amounting to P100,000 as GMA Films "was merely forced to protect its rights and interest under a valid contract and to rectify a wrong done upon it."
The Court awarded GMA Films P2 million plus interest and damages.
Note: Because these movie projects are in production, the title, cast and directors are subject to change. There is also the possibility of the project to be shelved and pushed back for a later release date or totally be cancelled.