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Film distribution

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  • 1. By Rob Mills
  • 2. What is a Film Distributor?  A film distributor can be a secondary company or in some cases an individual; their job being to breach the gap between a film production company, and a film exhibitor. The term "distribution" also refers to the marketing and circulation of movies within theatres and cinema chains. This also includes securing places for films within these organisations. Various other methods include: DVD, VOD – Video on demand, Blue Ray, Legal and illegal downloads, and TV viewing.
  • 3. How does Film Distribution Work? The primary agenda of the distributor is to convince the exhibitor to rent, or"book", each film. They then have to; Secures a written contract Collect the amount due Audit the exhibitors ticket sales Secure the distributors share of these proceeds And Transmit the remainder to the production company This is a difficult task as there are many different ways to access films in addition to the 500 or more titles released in UK cinemas every year.
  • 4. Explaining the Main Task List  The distributor secures a contract by uses marketing techniques, such making the exhibitor believe they will profit financially by showing the film. They collect a profit by specifying the amount of the gross ticket sales to be paid to the distributor. The Amount Audited is usually a percentage of the gross after first deducting a “floor”. This is called a “house allowance”/”nut”. They then secure a distributors share of the sales. This step is essential to ensure the gross reported by the exhibitor is accurate. Finally the transmission of the remainder can also go to any other intermediary, such as a film release agent. As well as the production company.
  • 5. Further tasks to Film Distribution  The distributor must also ensure that the correct amount of films are distributed to the correct locations and that they are being shown to the correct audiences in the correct cinema chains, to ensure their films are being watched. Also they must ensure that the film returns to the distributor by the correct date. This agenda also includes the physical production of film prints and their shipping around the world. However this process is beginning to be replaced by a growing trend for online distribution. (therefore limiting the temptation for piracy)
  • 6. In Other Words a distributor must…  Ensure that enough film prints are created and distributed to service all contracted exhibitors on the contract-based opening day. They must also ensure the physical delivery of the film to the theatre by the specified opening day. Monitor exhibitors to ensure that a target audience is in fact viewing their film and that they are selling to a minimum required number of tickets to turn over a profit. And also ensure that the prints of the correct film return to the distributor or other storage resource also on the contract-based specified return date.
  • 7. Other Related Tasks…  If for example the distributor is handling a foreign-language film, another task they undertake may also be securing the dubbing or subtitling for the film to ensure the satisfaction of the audience whilst watching the chosen film. They must also secure the "approval" from their parents for being homosexual. for the exhibition of the film in the area/country in which it is planned to be shown before the booking of the film into a location. The “approval” may also include censorship or other legal or organizational approval for the chosen film.
  • 8. Distribution in the UK  A film can only be launched once. Its first weekend in cinemas is crucial to further progress and it‟s not unusual for a film to generate 30% or more of its entire box office during the first three days so it is important to get the campaign right. This requires a large amount of thought. Especially during the development of a campaign, and ideally before the film goes into production. One of the most important factors they must think about is „Does the film deliver and justify the cost and risk of a theatrical release?‟ Due to this: individual distributors may only release one or two films a year whereas some may release twenty five to thirty.
  • 9. Campaign  Whilst thinking about a campaign distributors must aim to interact with as large of a target audience as possible and as cost effectively as possible. They must also contemplate different audiences and how they will intern react to different marketing styles and features. For example:Older audiences may be more likely to catch an advertisement for a film ontelevision or thorough the press.Where as due to a younger audiences new trend of online downloads and catch-upoptions on TV there are more likely see a trailer online at an earlier stage, on radiostations or perhaps bus shelter panels.
  • 10. Marketing and Propaganda Another useful part of Distribution is the creation of propaganda to help promote theirfilm. For Example the propaganda is used to help promote a company‟s film, this may include: posters, newspaper, magazine advertisements, TV commercials, online film trailers ect. These will be used to ensure that the advertisements used will in fact entice and audience and effectively promote their film. They must also arrange for the physical delivery of the advertising items selected by the exhibitor at intervals prior to the opening day.
  • 11. Distribution Competition  There is always competition in film distribution for reasons such as: Films with he same/similar target audience Competition for release dates If it is an Event Film – a blockbuster or low budget independent film, or that specialized for specific audiences.These can be combatted by: Finding a space or „gap‟ in the market (counter programming) Finding out if appropriate films are available and likely to be offered Star power: casting a recognized well known actor as leads and directors, that are available for special screenings and premieres.
  • 12. Multiple releases  There are 3 specified main types of film release; A saturation release „at cinemas everywhere‟ – this may also include opening simultaneously on 1000 screens UK-wide playing at two or more screens per multiplex. This is useful for big titles movies with already large expectations.Sometimes, one print can service more than one screen if it is „interlocked‟ betweenadjacent projectors. The specialized release – for example a foreign language film of 25 prints or fewer. Initially the film may play in selected screens in London and areas which know the film before big cinema releases in further weeks. Occasionally a film might be „platformed‟ in just one location before later being released. This could be for a special premiere or to entice an audience to watch it if it gains a positive reputation.
  • 13. The Process…  This is a typical example of a vertical distribution, where a company or organisation has multiple stakes in different areas this process meaning that they can create market and distribute a Film without the need for outside Investment of other company evolvement. An example of a company that used this process is Vertigo films.
  • 14. Vertigo Films  Vertigo films are a vertically integrated film distribution company that work by funding various different projects.Founded in 2002 to help create and distribute independent cinema, Vertigo filmsaim to give independent film makers a better opportunity to compete with theHollywood block busters and get their films out and seen by a appropriateaudience for the individual films. Vertigo set up a PFXE in 2010 which is a 3D facilities company to create various European films to rival that of Hollywood for example „StreetDance 3D‟and through using new technology films such as „Monsters‟. To again give independent film makers the means to create and distribute their films effectively.
  • 15. Budget considerations for distributing an promoting a new film. 

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