Film Distribution
LESSON AIMS:
Understand the what is meant by the term film distribution.
Understand the role of distribu...
What does distribution involve?
Licencing
Marketing
Prints & Advertising
Logistics
Digital distribution
What is the purpose of a film distributor?
A film distributor is the link between the producer and the
exhibitors (the cin...
TASK:
In pairs, discuss the last 2 films you have seen at the cinema.
Try to identify the main reason for your choices.
Wh...
Releasing a film
Hollywood distributors will consider their release strategies from (at least) four
perspectives:
• Global...
Audiences
High concept, high budget-
mass audience
Social realism- local and
regional audience
MAJOR AND INDEPENDANT DISTRIBUTORS
The Majors
The majors are those affiliated to the biggest Hollywood companies and are:
...
THE BOAT THAT ROCKED
How many different
distributors would you
expect to be involved
with this film?
A HOLLYWOOD EXAMPLE O...
THIS IS ENGLAND
How many different distributors
would you expect to be
involved with this film?
A FILM 4 EXAMPLE OF DISTRI...
Independent companies often find it difficult to find a
distributor.
Unlike movies made by Hollywood Studios or their
subs...
Each distribution company takes on a certain number of titles each year
and creates an individual release-plan for those f...
Current top 15 films
in UK cinemas
• Select a new Hollywood film of your choice (IMDB.com).
• Research the distributor – Who are they? Why are they distribut...
Marketing Campaign
• Advertising (above the line cost)
• Publicity (below the line)
• Promotions (below the line)
Advertising
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYsspTDChOA
teaser
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdKbNuhXWvQ
official trailer
Publicity
Promotion
Synergy/Synergies
Definition: The interaction of two or more agents (institutions/companies) to ensure a
larger effect tha...
Normally after opening weekend, box office sales
drop by 40%, Donnie Darko only dropped by
25%...why?
Viral Marketing
Definition: A marketing technique aiming at reproducing "word of mouth" usually on
the internet and throug...
How might a distributor advertise a film?
Trailer
YouTube
Film website
Online magazines (Empire)
Teaser trailers
Poster
Ne...
Marketing & Promotion
In a world where money spent on the budget of a film often sees 50 % going on
promotion as opposed t...
Film distribution
Film distribution
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Film distribution

  1. 1. Film Distribution LESSON AIMS: Understand the what is meant by the term film distribution. Understand the role of distribution companies in the film industry. Understand how film distribution works differently for independent and Hollywood companies.
  2. 2. What does distribution involve? Licencing Marketing Prints & Advertising Logistics Digital distribution
  3. 3. What is the purpose of a film distributor? 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 advertising campaign. To market successfully the distributor has to target the appropriate audience (this can be easy if there is a star, but harder in the case of low-budget independent films).
  4. 4. TASK: In pairs, discuss the last 2 films you have seen at the cinema. Try to identify the main reason for your choices. Why did you choose those films in particular? Where did you see the films? Who did you see them with? Were there any other factors that influenced your choice?
  5. 5. Releasing a film Hollywood distributors will consider their release strategies from (at least) four perspectives: • Global: where will the film work? • Regional: how will we make it work in (say) Europe? • National: how should we release it in each country? • Local: are there any particular local conditions that need to be taken into account within each country? Many things have to be taken into consideration when distributors choose a release date for a movie. School holidays in Easter, half term, summer and Christmas tend to be the time when big family movies are set for release. Big national sporting events, particularly when England are taking part, such as the European Championships and the World Cup can affect audiences, so care is taken about releasing male-orientated, action-type movies at that time. It is also crucial to know the landscape with regard to film and media related events happening nationally and most importantly, what else is being released at the time. The last thing you want is your film being released on the weekend The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), are released, both of which will swamp the media and the national consciousness (unless, that is, you are consciously positioning the marketing strategy in opposition to these blockbusters).
  6. 6. Audiences High concept, high budget- mass audience Social realism- local and regional audience
  7. 7. MAJOR AND INDEPENDANT DISTRIBUTORS The Majors The majors are those affiliated to the biggest Hollywood companies and are: •Warner Bros.; •20th Century Fox; •Columbia Tri-Star; •Buena Vista International (BVI, owned by the Disney Corporation); •United International Pictures (UIP, who release films from Universal and MGM studios). The Independents These are companies who release a much wider range of films, and include Artificial Eye, Pattie, Metro Tartan, Metrodome, Momentum and Contemporary. Titles will include foreign language films, documentaries, re-releases and non-mainstream Hollywood/UK titles picked up at film festivals across the world. Entertainment Distribution is an unusual case in that it is a UK independent that has a long standing relationship with US studio New Line Cinema (a unit of the Time Warner Corporation).
  8. 8. THE BOAT THAT ROCKED How many different distributors would you expect to be involved with this film? A HOLLYWOOD EXAMPLE OF DISTRIBUTION Bontonfilm (2009) (Czech Republic) (theatrical) (subtitled) Focus Features (2009) (USA) (theatrical) Lusomundo Audiovisuais (2009) (Portugal) (theatrical) SPI International (2009) (Slovakia) (theatrical) Studio Canal (2009) (France) (theatrical) Toho-Towa (2009) (Japan) (theatrical) United International Pictures (UIP) (2009) (Sweden) (theatrical) United International Pictures (UIP) (2009) (Singapore) (theatrical) Universal Pictures International (UPI) (2009) (Germany) (theatrical) Universal Pictures International (UPI) (2009) (UK) (theatrical) Universal Pictures International (UPI) (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical) Argentina Video Home (2009) (Argentina) (DVD) Finnkino (2009) (Finland) (all media) Studio Canal (2009) (France) (DVD) Studio Canal (2009) (France) (DVD) (Blu-ray) Universal Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD) Universal Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray) Universal Pictures Benelux (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) Universal Pictures Benelux (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray) Universal Pictures Nordic (2009) (Sweden) (DVD) Universal Pictures Nordic (2009) (Sweden) (DVD) (Blu-ray) Universal Pictures (2009) (Germany) (DVD) Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray There are 25 in total if you include both cinema and home video distributors. 14 of these companies are owned by Universal (or part owned as UIP is joint owned with Paramount) – a great example of vertical integration
  9. 9. THIS IS ENGLAND How many different distributors would you expect to be involved with this film? A FILM 4 EXAMPLE OF DISTRIBUTION The film has only 8 distribution deals – one of which partly financed the film (Optimum Releasing). IFC Films (2007) (USA) (theatrical) IFC First Take (2007) (USA) (theatrical) Madman Entertainment (2007) (Australia) (all media) NetFlix (2007) (USA) (DVD) NonStop Entertainment (2007) (Sweden) (theatrical) Optimum Releasing (2006) (UK) (theatrical) Red Envelope Entertainment (2007) (USA) (DVD) Sandrew Metronome Distribution (2008) (Finland) (DVD)
  10. 10. Independent companies often find it difficult to find a distributor. Unlike movies made by Hollywood Studios or their subsidiaries, who already have a distributor in place before production even begins, many independent films are completed and then must find a distribution deal. Distributors will buy an independent film, either for a set fee (after which the producers receive none of the profits) or offer the film-makers a cut of the film’s profits. The process of a distributor buying a film is called acquisition.
  11. 11. Each distribution company takes on a certain number of titles each year and creates an individual release-plan for those films. Their responsibilities include: • deciding on a release date • receiving an age certificate by regulation bodies, such as the BBFC and MPAA • deciding how many prints to produce • arranging exhibition outlets globally as well as negotiating deals for the film’s release on DVD/Television/cable and satellite channels • advertising campaigns; marketing, publicity and promotion of the film • designing art work for adverts, posters, flyers and billboards; • organising premieres and talker screenings; • booking talent (i.e. the stars or director) for press interviews and personal appearances.
  12. 12. Current top 15 films in UK cinemas
  13. 13. • Select a new Hollywood film of your choice (IMDB.com). • Research the distributor – Who are they? Why are they distributing THIS film? • 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 key cast.
  14. 14. Marketing Campaign • Advertising (above the line cost) • Publicity (below the line) • Promotions (below the line)
  15. 15. Advertising http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYsspTDChOA teaser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdKbNuhXWvQ official trailer
  16. 16. Publicity
  17. 17. Promotion
  18. 18. Synergy/Synergies Definition: The interaction of two or more agents (institutions/companies) to ensure a larger effect than if they acted independently. This is beneficial for each company through efficiencies in expertise and costs. Examples: Working Title know how to make films and they have formed a business partnership with Universal, a massive US company, who have the experience and size in the marketplace (cinemas, stores, online, etc.) to distribute them. (They create the marketing campaign to target audiences through posters, trailers, create the film’s website, free previews, television and press interviews featuring “the talent”, drum up press reviews, word of mouth, and determine when a film is released for the best possible audience and the type of release: limited, wide, etc.) Channel Four’s Film 4 and Celador Films benefited by pooling their know-how, experience and expertise to jointly produce Slumdog Millionaire. These companies formed a business relationship with France’s Pathe to distribute this film. In the UK Pathe helped create the poster, trailer, website, etc. In the USA the film found another distributor after being nominated for the Oscars.
  19. 19. Normally after opening weekend, box office sales drop by 40%, Donnie Darko only dropped by 25%...why?
  20. 20. Viral Marketing Definition: A marketing technique aiming at reproducing "word of mouth" usually on the internet and through existing social networks. YouTube Video pastiches, trailers, interviews with cast members, the director, writer, etc. You can find interviews of “the talent” trying to gain publicity for your case study films on YouTube. Guerilla Marketing Definition: The use of unconventional and low cost marketing strategies to raise awareness of a product. The aim is usually to create “buzz” and “word of mouth” around a film. Unusual stunts to gain publicity (P.R.) on the film’s opening weekend, etc. Examples: Sasha Baron Cohen created “buzz” before the release of his film “Borat” by holding fake press conferences. The studio also accessed the popularity of YouTube by releasing the first 4 minutes of the movie on YouTube, a week before it’s release, which can then be sent virally across the nation. At a special viewing of “Bruno” Cohen landed on Eminem “butt first” from the roof MTV Awards venue, dressed in as an angel outfit with rents in the rear end.
  21. 21. How might a distributor advertise a film? Trailer YouTube Film website Online magazines (Empire) Teaser trailers Poster Newspaper Magazines Television Radio Preview screener Festivals Press-kit Star tour/press junket Press screaming Gala premiere
  22. 22. Marketing & Promotion In a world where money spent on the budget of a film often sees 50 % going on promotion as opposed to what you actually see on 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 sell things, but it doesn't rely on waiting, listening, responding to what 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. (Toby Miller)

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