Film Distribution Is the process of launching a film in the market place and sustaining public interest in the film. World-wide distribution is dominated by US Companies such as Paramount, Warner and Universal.
Traditional Method of making and distributing films. Someone has an idea for a movie. They create an outline and use it to promote interest in the idea. A studio or independent investor decides to purchase rights to the film. People are brought together to make the film (screenwriter, producer, director, cast, crew). The film is completed and sent to the studio. The studio makes a licensing agreement with a distribution company. The distribution company determines how many copies (prints) of the film to make.
Traditional Method of making and distributing films The distribution company shows the movie (screening) to prospective buyers representing the theatres. The buyers negotiate with the distribution company on which movies they wish to lease and the terms of the lease agreement. The prints are sent to the theatres a few days before the opening day. The theatre shows the movie for a specified number of weeks (engagement). You buy a ticket and watch the movie. At the end of the engagement, the theatre sends the print back to the distribution company and makes payment on the lease agreement. Homework: read http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/movie-distribution1.htm
Film Distribution: Key Elements Positioning: Involves how and when the film should be released. Elements to be considered are the time of year, other film releases and the target audience. Circulation How many copies of the film should be circulated to cinemas Each print (reel) costs around £1000-1200 The distributor should decide whether the film requires a ‘saturation release’ (700-100 prints/reels) or and ‘art-house’ release (around 20 prints)
Film Distribution: Key Elements Release: Time is crucial. School holidays are a prime time within the year for the release of blockbusters If the film is a potential ward winner, then it will be released during the traditional season of awards competitions: January to March Competition must also be considered. Marketing: Can cost as much as making the film! Main aim is to create a ‘must see’ feeling about the film. Word of mouth is a powerful a marketing aid for a film.
Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features Several elements can be used in the marketing to generate interest in a film. Posters Contain standard elements that are used to sell the idea of a film to the potential viewer. The main image will often echo a key moment in the film. Any stars or possible key personnel, will have their names featured. Posters usually have a Unique Selling Points. This is the element that offers something special or different about the film. Come blockbusters use a ‘teaser’ poster campaign. The teaser posters offer a few key elements of a film to generate interest.
Analysing Film Posters: As film themselves do, posters draw on key elements of genre to communicate through the poster, and hopefully generate interest in the film. Iconography Narrative Characters Themes
True Grit (2011) Cohen Brothers Referring to this poster, identify the elements used relating to Iconography, Narrative, Character and Themes. What genre is this film?
Just Go With It (2011) Referring to this poster, identify the elements used relating to Iconography, Narrative, Character and Themes. What genre is this film?
Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features Trailers: Need to present a number of key elements to the audience. The genre – through key scenes, iconography, dialogue or other sound elements Narrative elements have to be introduced, being careful not to ruin the film though Is there a star, then they will likely be featured.
Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features Again a USP will be created, this could be: Images of an actor playing a different role to what the audience expects A location that differs from that which is conventional within a particular genre The presentation of a story not told before As with poster, there may also be a teaser campaign.
Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Features Media Advertising: Using other media texts to promote the film. Posters in magazines and newspapers, and on billboards and bus stops. Trailers on TV and radio (depending on budget.)Start and Director appear as guests to be interviews about the film
The Internet: A ‘buzz’ about the film can be generated in an internet chat room, for example. Positive word of mouth is good promotion. Individuals films have their own website, which features clips, images, interviews and so on. This helps create public awareness. E.g. The Blair Witch Project, website provoked debate about whether the story was true or not. Internet Viral are created from web marketing, usually aimed directly at the target audience, creates a ‘buzz’ which spread through on-line communities.
Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Elements Continued Promotions: Big Films often have tie-in promotion campaigns e.g. toys given away in fast food outlets… Merchandising A large potential for profit lies in this area. The distributor will oversee the scale of licences to approved companies to allow them to se film images and logos Star Wars was perhaps the first film to profit through merchandising. Premieres Are a carefully organised promotional tool. They generate articles in newspapers, magazine articles about those who attend, and T.V interviews with stars.
Film Distribution: Marketing: Key Elements Press Junkets: The endless short interviews given to the members of the press It is an official element of publicity Previewed Screenings: Free tickets might be given away, competitions etc. Distributors are careful to attract to the preview the intended target audience for the film, in order to try and generate a positive word of mouth. Festivals: Film festivals have a dual function. They are competitions in which, if a film wins and award or critical acclaim, it will provide positive publicity for the film. Secondly they are a promotional tool where reviews are created and interviews conducted.