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Film distribution

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  • 1. Film distribution Learning Outcome: To understand what you need to know about film for the exam To understand what film distribution is and how it occurs and the problems for smaller companies.
  • 2. For the exam
    • To succeed in the second part of the exam, we will develop understanding of a particular studio or production company.
    • You must be able to discuss production, distribution and consumption of film products in your exam.
    • Over the next couple of weeks we will look at the production, distribution and consumption and particularly studio.
  • 3. British film
    • What do you think the advantage is British films going to America and across the world compared with European films?
    • America is geographically huge
    • Americans and a number of countries around the world speak English.
    • The size of the audience for a film is potentially huge.
  • 4. British film
    • Advantages of American film/studios compared with British film.
    • American films has the same advantage with the language.
    • American studios have an enormous capital at their disposal.
    • American film companies can afford to take a risk- 1 in 9 films fail at the box office.
    • Why can they afford eight films to fail?
  • 5. American film
    • Compare two films, one British and one American discuss the creative side of it- how much CGI is used?, how is the disposable income used in the storylines, scenery, costume etc?
  • 6. British film
    • British film producers periodically experience boom periods.
    • Although the British film industry attract a large global audience, in Britain we experience a large film diet of American films.
    • Why?
    • Due to the popularity of Hollywood films in the UK, the distribution of films into cinemas and DVDs into our shops in dominated by US companies, who are clearly going to put their money into their own products.
  • 7. Film distribution
    • Consider what the following quote means:
    • If you break it down and look at it as a business then the audience has the greatest power. It’s the audience who likes a particular superstar, then Hollywood is forced to use the superstar and that star then becomes extremely powerful.
    • What does this mean?
  • 8. Film distribution
    • Consider the next quote:
    • In a world where money spent in the budget of a film often sees 50% going on promotion as opposed to what you actually see on the screen, the idea that we have a world where the consumer can exercise authority is absurd. This industry is like any other. Of course it has to see things but it doesn’t rely on waiting, listening , responding to an audiences want and then delivering that to them.
    • It relies on knowing which parts of the world and the media need its products and will pay for them.
  • 9.
    • Which person is right?
    • Does market forces give the consumer more power and choice and thus influence what we want is what is being made for us to buy?
    • Or does it actually convince us that what we want is being made for us?
  • 10.
    • Do millions of people go and see Pirates of the Caribbean 2 in the first week of release because, its expected to be as good if not better than the previous film, because it has had good marketing? or both?
  • 11. Film distribution
    • Film distribution describes everything that happens in between production (making the film) and exhibition (people watching the film in cinema, DVD, television, via the internet, a plane or anywhere else!)
    • Distribution involves all the deals done to get the film shown including the promotion.
  • 12. Promotion
    • Promotion involves:
    • ‘ Above the line’ advertising which will be funded as part of the project such as trailors, billboards and various other spin offs e.g. McDonalds happy meal toys and in house promotion of the film.
    • ‘ Below the line’ publicity which is not paid for but generates mutual interest e.g. an interview with a magazine or newspaper or reviews (any positive reviews will obviously help the promotion of the film although any bad publicity will obviously have an impact on the film.
  • 13. Film distributers
    • The key players in film distribution are the big companies which controls much of the industry, control the distribution of their own products, and of others.
    • Films are loaned out to cinemas for a set amount of time, release dates are secured and a set number of screens and screen times.
  • 14. Cinema times
    • In pairs look at the VUE at Meadowhall, VUE in Doncaster and Cineworld in Sheffield.
    • Look over one weekend how many separate screenings of films are there?
    • How many films in total are on offer?
    • How many films are being screened several times at the same cinema?
    • How many films are being screened at more than one cinema?
    • What conclusions can you draw about film distributions in the UK?
  • 15. Film distributors in the UK
    • Five major distributors dominate the UK film industry:
    • United International Pictures
    • Warner Brothers
    • Buena Vista
    • Twentieth Century Fox
    • Sony
    • Roughly nine out of ten films seen in the UK are distributed by the above companies.
    • Find out what films the companies have distibuted.
  • 16. Film distributors
    • IN most cases these distributors have direct links to Hollywood production companies that make the films.
    • They deal with exhibitors who are no longer (they used to be) owned by the same Hollywood companies, but who do, for reasons of profit, prioritise Hollywood films over theirs.
    • Usually the blockbuster films we are familiar with are distributed via ‘blanket release’, so even if a small UK independent company manages to get its product into cinemas it is usually competing for attention with one or more films that take on the status of an ‘event’.
    • One of the outcomes of the distribution arrangement outlined above is that half of the films released in Britain do not reach the whole country.
  • 17. Film distributors- small companies
    • What do you think the issues are for smaller distribution companies?
    • They have to compete with the larger distributors for the bigger films.
    • For a smaller distributor one of the major issues is the digital age.
    • Every film shown in a cinema is a separate ‘print’ of the film projected via a reel.
    • The major companies can afford to produce far more prints than the smaller companies, knowing the expensive outlay of funds at this safe will be will be worth it in relation to box office returns.
    • A small company producing a less commercial product can not afford to do that , so people who want to see more alternative films often have to wait until their local independent cinema has a print and often there is little choice of where and when you see it.