Audiences and Institutions
To be able to indicate how how film distribution
To begin to understand the difference between
the US and UK film systems
• A film distributor is the link
between the producer and the
exhibitors (the cinema chains,
Television networks); their aim
is to get as many people as
possible to see the film.
• The distributor markets the film
and develops an appropriate
• To market successfully
the distributor has to
target the appropriate
• This can be easy if there
is a star, but harder in
the case of low-budget
Distribution is fundamental for a film to make profit, or
even break even on its costs.
A distribution company may be attached to a project during
pre-production, especially for Studio productions for which
the distribution company will most likely be a sister
company of the production company. However, in the
independent industry getting distribution can be a
significant challenge. Sometimes a distribution company
will be attached from the outset; this will significantly help
the independent production company attract financiers.
Often though, the film will be taken to film festivals in the
hope that a film buyer will purchase the film. Independent
film companies often employ a sales agent whose role it is
to seek out distribution companies for the film.
The distribution company is in charge of getting the film out to audiences,
this involves organising for the film to receive an age certificate by
regulation bodies, such as the BBFC and MPAA; arranging exhibition
outlets globally and DVD/Television rights; arranging for prints of the film;
and marketing, publicity and promotion of the film.
films as well
the actual film
• Select a new Hollywood film of your choice (IMDB.com).
• Research the distributor – Who are they? Why are they distributing THIS
• Identify the main target audience, their interests and media use and any
secondary / mass audience appeal.
• Identify key cast/crew/ pre-existing property and the film’s USP.
• Identify the success of similar films and recent films by the director and
• Launched as part of Channel 4 in 1982 under
‘Channel 4 films’ to Commission low- to
medium budgeted films.
• Promoted diversity in film and explored
contemporary social and political problems.
• Channel Four films were a major contributor
to British films success in America.
• However still only accounted for 1% gross at
the UK Box Office.
• Re-launched as Film4 in 1999 with the
successes of Four Wedding and a Funeral
(1994; gross of $240m), Shallow Grave (1994)
& Trainspotting (1996).
Film4 was a unique attempt to bridge
distribution and production in Britain.
Film Budget Box Office Director Genre Star Audience
£1.5m £1.59m Shane
Life is Sweet < £1m £1.5m Mike
My Name is
£2.5m £1.5m Ken Loach Peter
Trainspotting £3.5m £18m Danny
Riff-Raff < £1m £0.5m Ken Loach Robert
Once upon a
time in the
The end of Film Four
• The distribution arm of Film Four came to an
end in 2002. It is often claimed that the film
Charlotte Gray (2001) is most responsible for
• In trying to make films that appealed to both
international and domestic markets Film Four
“Film four…invested in films that could be
defined as ‘typically British’…” Sarah Casey Benyahia
• It played an important role in the
distribution of films which British
audiences were unlikely to have
access to otherwise, to cinemas
and on Video and DVD.
Total Box Office Gross
Total Box Office Gross
New Models of Distribution
• Films are now readily available due to
advances in technology.
The first film to be released simultaneously
in cinemas, on DVD and on the internet on
the same day.
The film received 1.4 million viewers when
broadcast on channel 4.
The Road to Guantanamo