These six “majors” command approximately90% of box office takings: Paramount Pictures Universal 20th Century Fox Warner Bros. Pictures Walt Disney Columbia Pictures They are part of vast conglomerates thatare both vertically and horizontallyintegrated.
Studios that work outside the major studiosystem are know as “independents” or“indies” Summit Entertainment Film 4 Productions Icon Productions
Some of the leading “independent” studioshave come to be known as “mini-majors”these include studios such as: DreamWorks TheWeinstein Company Lions Gate Entertainment
Find out about one of the bigsix: Who owns the studio? Do they have an “art house”branch? Have they absorbed any smallerfilm studios? Which other companies are ownedby the same conglomerate?
Refers to the making of the film: Finding the idea Writing the script Pitching it to a studio Setting a budget Casting stars and employing acrew Filming Editing
For a film to go intoproduction it needs investorsto provide the necessaryfunding. Box office is success is nevercertain and so investors try toreduce the risk of losing theirmoney by becoming involved inimportant decisions
Key questions that they will ask are: Is the film’s storyline similar to otherfilms that have made money recently? Does it offer easy selling points? Are there obvious marketing spin offs togive added publicity? Is the star popular? Had the director had previous successes?
If the answer to any of theses questions is nothen changes will be made to the “package”(the details of the film) to make sure all theanswers are yes! Otherwise the investors willtake their money else where.
Before a director can start filming a film has to be“greenlit” – this meaning that funding has been madeavailable by the investors At this stage a project will have most of the keyelements such as: Principle cast, Director Cinematographer Screenplay It is the job of the producer to bring all of theseelements together.
Why is a film franchise such an importantasset to a studio?
Choose a popular film franchise and prepare acomprehensive presentation that includes informationsuch as: Origins Acquisition of rights Products The studios and distribution companies involved Budgets Directors & Casts Marketing Strategies BoxOffice Figures Notable issues Future plans
When an existing story (book, play, comic) is made intoa film the “rights” have to be bought from the author –the product is their “intellectual property” E.g.Warner Brothers bought the rights to make the first4 Harry Potter for £ 1 million. (They bought theremaining 3 when the first had been a success.) Film makes may “option” a script – meaning they onlypay 10% of the fee and then pay the full amount if theproject is “green lit” ( goes into production) . There is normally a time limit on an “option” – usualtwo or three years. If the film isn’t made in this time therights can be re-sold.
Establishing who hasthe “rights” to makea film can result ina long legal battleand the delay of afilm being made. Case Study: Watchmen
There have been numerous attempts to make a filmversion of Watchmen since 1986, when producersLawrence Gordon and Joel Silver acquired filmrights to the series for 20th Century Fox. In 1991, Fox put the project into “turnaround”and was moved to Warner Bros. A turnaround is an arrangement in the filmindustry, whereby the rights to a project onestudio has developed are sold to another studio inexchange for the cost of development.
Gilliam later abandoned the projectbecause he decided that Watchmen wouldhave been “un-filmable”. Subsequently itwas dropped by Warner Bros. In 2004 the film went to ParamountPictures but again it was placed inturnaround when the lead director left towork on other projects. In 2005 Lawrence Gordon took the filmback to Warner Bros where it waseventually brought to life.
20th Century Fox filed a lawsuit to block thefilms release, stating that they still had the“rights” to the film and that L. Gordon wassupposed to resubmit Watchmen to Fox every timehe came up with a changed element. Warner Bros fought this claim but eventually thestudios eventually settled. Fox received an upfront payment and a percentageof the worldwide gross from the film and allsequels and spin-offs in return. The film was released to cinemas in March 2009 ayear after the original release date.
Traditionally films were made up imagesprinted on to acetate negatives. These are then “spliced” together to form areel of film. These are then feed through a projector at aconstant speed of 24 frames a second whichmakes the pictures appear to be moving. This is known as analogue
Advantages of Digital Production Digital camcorders using a high-definitionformat called HD-CAM are much cheaperthan standard film cameras. New digital camera technology rivalstraditional film for quality High quality film production is now far moreaccessible to film makers outside of themajor studios.
Digital technology can be store, transmit andretrieve a huge amount of data exactly as itwas originally recorded. The quality of digital film does notdeteriorate. Analogue technology (film) loses informationin transmission and generally degrades witheach viewing
Memory Cards can be re-used many times –unlike film Footage can be viewed immediately on set Production time is cut and so are costs BY HOLLYWOOD STANDARDS DIGITALVIDEO COSTSVIRTUALLY NOTHING
Digital information is a lot more flexible thananalogue information A computer can manipulate bytes of datavery easily Virtually no processing necessary before theediting stage E.g. ease of editing using a program such asFinalCut/AVID/Premiere This saves time and therefore saves money.
Example: Attack of the Clones (The first digital film)$16,000 on 220 hours of digital tape Would have spent: $1.8million on 220 hours of film
Advantages to Digital Distribution Digital films are basically big computer files Can be written to DVD-ROM Sent via broadband Transmitted via satellite Virtually no shipping costs Not much more expensive to show in 100cinemas as 1
Film prints are very expensive (£1500-£3000 perprint) Expensive to ship heavy reels of film and thento collect them when film finishes its run Because of cost you have to very cautiousabout where films are played – unless it is aguaranteed hit it is a risk to send film to a lot ofcinemas Digital films can be opened simultaneously allover the world
A good analogue film projector produces aclear, crisp vibrant image but every time theprint is projected the film is damaged. A digital projector produces a high qualityimage and sound every time. The 1000th view is a good as the first! A digital projector does not need a trainedprojectionist!
Advantages to Digital Exhibition A digital projector does not need a trainedprojectionist! With a film reel, once it begins playing it cannot be stopped. If there is a problem withthe print it is very problematic to re-start thescreening. Cinemas are looking to run from “hubs”meaning the projection for each screen iscentralised.
Staff could be cut to a bare minimum. According to Edward Fletcher (SodaDistribution): ‘In place of the projectionist, you could haveone person in a business park in Stevenagesat in front of a bank of screens.That personcould programme their entire group ofcinemas by doing some drag-and-drops on alaptop’
The distribution phase of the film industry is a highlycompetitive business of launching and sustainingfilms in the “market place” You must remember that the film industry is abusiness and the films are products to be marketedand sold. Every film has its own distribution plan to ensure itreaches the right audiences. Clip:Target Audiencehttp://www.launchingfilms.tv/planning.php?video=2&autostart=1
The distribution of afilm in the UK cancost any wherebetween a fewthousand pounds to4 or 5 million! Clip: P + A Budgethttp://www.launchingfilms.tv/planning.php?video=4&autostart=1
Release timing is critical in the film industry There is significant “seasonality” in box office figures. Major holidays such as Christmas, NewYearDay, Halloween,Thanksgiving (US) IndependenceDay (US), the school holidays all play a role in thesuccess of a film. Clip: Competition http://www.launchingfilms.tv/planning.php?video=3&autostart=1
Studios make and pre-announce the releasedate decisions on a weekly basis. Film release dates can be announced years inadvance. Pre announcing dates in the film industry is abit of a game played by the studios. Dates will be announced and then shifted toreflect various new additions to the calendar. Distributors have to position their filmscarefully to avoid disastrous clashes.
Seven monthsbefore The HungerGames wasreleased Lionsgateannounced thedate for its sequel.Catching Fire willdebut on 22ndNovember 2013 Here are thereleasedscheduledfor July 2014
On the website www.launchingfilms.com Ican look ahead to March 2016!
For a film the opening weekend is make orbreak! If a film doesn’t make very much money onthe opening weekend – on Monday cinemaswill make the decision to remove it. Clip: OpeningWeekend http://www.launchingfilms.tv/licensing.php?video=2&autostart=1
There are a number of different ways of releasing a film.Each has its pros and cons. Films are released in “release windows". This keeps different instances of a film from competing witheach other.
In the standard release, a film is first released in thecinema (theatrical window), After approximately 16 and a half weeks, it is released toDVD (video window). After an additional number of months (different foreach film) it is released to PayTV and On Demandservices and
A simultaneous release takes place when a film is madeavailable on many media (cinema, DVD, internet) at thesame time or with very little difference in timing. What are the pros and cons of a simultaneous release? Consumers have more choice Producers only need one marketing campaign
The film was released on multiple platforms onhe 18th March 2011: 20+Cinemas Sky Movies Box Office Curzon On Demand. It was the fourth collaboration between ArtificialEye and Sky, with previous simultaneousreleases including Edge of Heaven,Julia, and LifeDuringWartime.
A straight to video (DVD/BluRay) releaseoccurs when a movie is released on homevideo formats without being released incinemas first. STV releases used to be seen as a sign ofpoor quality Have become a more profitable option inrecent years. Especially for independentmoviemakers and companies.
Originally a six months duration Today’s theatrical window is usually around fourmonths. Studios have reportedly been pushing to shrinkthe duration of the theatrical window. Cinema owners have fought fiercely against this. Why do you think studios arein favour but cinema chainsare against shrinking thetheatrical window?
Tim Burton’s Alice inWonderland cause greatcontroversy as Disney wanted to reduce thetheatrical window to 12 weeks! Odeon andVUEthreatened toboycott the film!
In starting to plan a marketing campaign, thefilm distributor has to decide how it will presenta film to a potential audience. They need to decide what sets this film apartfrom all the other films that are released – theylook for a film’s ‘unique selling point’ (USP). If, for example, the distributor is handling anadventure film, they will need to look for aspectsof the film which set it aside from the otheraction adventure films.
What you think is the USP of each film? The Kings Speech Shaun of the Dead Avengers Assemble
After this they will look at such things as whostars in the film, are there new andspectacular special effects in the film andwho is the director? Taking all of these into consideration, thedistributor will then decide which elements tostress in the marketing campaign(posters, trailers, etc.) i.e. how to position thefilm in the market place.
The passion & visionof JJ Abrams“A complete re-invention ofan iconic propertyCompletely new castportraying much-lovedcharactersSupreme production values* Quote from Paramount Star Trek Roadshow, 2008
IF this was just another StarTrek sequel, not the biggest blockbuster of the summer25+ male sci-fi fans (Trekkies)Mean age = 42ABC1 skewMarriedNo children in householdLove to buy new gadgets (199 index)Influenced by internet reviews (172 index)First place I look for info is internet (159 index)I am introverted (142 index)Know what the Kobayashi Maru isSpeak fluent KlingonCringe whenever a red shirt enters the screenNOT traditionally drivers of strongblockbuster performance
STRENGTHSPEDIGREEOF DIRECTORBRITISHNESSHUMOURTHE FILM ITSELFS.W.O.TOPPORTUNITIESERICCANTONAMANCHESTER UNITEDCANNES FILM FESTIVALEND OF FOOTBALL SEASONGOWIDEWEAKNESSESGRITTY / LACK OF GLAMOURLOOKS LIKE A DOCUMENTARY?WILL IT APPEALTO WOMEN?THREATSTOO ASSOCIATED WITH FOOTBALLERICCANTONACOMPETITION – 44 INCH CHEST
A Ken Loach movie... A football movie... A romantic comedy... Or a quirky British comedy...?Positioning. So, what is it?
Marketing is one of the most important aspectsof a film’s distribution and there are manydifferent ways to market a film. Make a list of the different the ways you canmarket a film. Posters Trailers Online and mobile content Special Screenings/Premieres Interviews/ articles Merchandising Festivals/ Awards
www.launchingfilms.com/releaseschedule Choose a film that has either been releasedthis week or is just about to be released. Create a PowerPoint presentation that coversas much about the marketing strategy forthat film as possible Make a note of whether your chosen film isBritish or America Record the name of the distribution company
The cinema release of a film marks the finalstage of one part of a film’s journey from idea toaudience. After the cinema release, the film will then beavailable on several different formats. Each of these “exhibitions” of the film offer theopportunity to generate profit. List as many different ways to watch as film asyou can.
Make a poster displaying the prosand cons of a particular type ofexhibition (watching a film). You will present your findings tothe rest of the group and as aclass we will try to decide whichway is the best. The options are: Cinema(theatrical), Television (Alltypes), DVD/BluRay, OnlineService
• Cinema• DVD/BluRay/Downloads• SubscriptionTelevision• Free to air television
Of the “FilmValue Chain” where do you thinkthat films make the most money? Why do you think this is?
There are several differenttypes cinema : Multiplex Imax Art-housescreens
How does the range of “cinematicexperiences” offered vary betweenthe Odeon/VUE and Curzon/Everymanchains? Do all cinemas within the samechain show the same films? If notwhy not? Do you think all these cinemachains attract the same typesaudience? Why