Real Production/Distribution companies: UK & US
DistributionFilm distribution describes everything that happens in between production (making the film) and exhibition (people watching the film in cinemas ,DVD/UMD, TV, through the internet or on a plane or anywhere else). Distribution involves all of the deals done to get films shown and just as importantly promoted. There has to be release cycles e.g. 0 months- Theatrical release & then 36 months- free- TV (BBC1). They have to decide which date to release the film and take into consideration when is the right time to release seasonal films. Take for instance Paranormal activity 3 which was released in October on the 21st around Halloween.The key players, the big companies who control much of the industry, control distribution of their own products and of others e.g. 20th Century Fox & Avatar.Five major distributors dominate the UK film industry which are1. United international pictures which Universal is a part of)2. Warner bros3. Buena vista4. Twentieth century fox5. SonyThey deal with exhibitors who are no longer owned by the same Hollywood companies but for reasons of profit, prioritise Hollywood films over others. Usually the blockbuster films we are familiar with are distributed through ‘blanket release’. This means that 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 agreement outlined above is that half of the films released in Britain do not reach the whole country.
Marketing & Advertising Marketing AdvertisingTo market a film you’ll have to think about There are many ways your film can be distributed• Finding the hook of the film when marketing it. Distributors might go for a• genre of the film, range depending on the budget they have. To advertise a film there are a range of things you• Who? What? When? where? And why? ( could use to do so. audience/target audience-teens or family?), Three key things in advertising-• The unique selling point • Advertising• Try attract as many people to watch the film. • Cost of productionDistributors will then need to • Promotion/third party e.g. Radio• Create a market campaign for the film to stand out Also they could use Billboards, Official websites, flyers, Buses, TV or cinema adverts.• Build up a reservoir of information• Campaign ways include: Print/poster, internet, mobile e.g. an image of Spiderman which is a global imageTeaser campaigns are made to keep people aware of the film coming to screen, ad sells and most importantly create a trailer. Theres three types: Teaser trailer, Main trailer & Shorter main trailer. The trailer is important because it’s the first exposure to what the film will be about therefore it has to be portrayed well.
Type of distributors that might want distribute our film
Optimum ReleasingStudioCanal UK (formerly Optimum Releasing/Home Entertainment/Classics) is a film distributor companyworking in the UK and Ireland. They are vertically integrated and the company releases many films, includingforeign language films, anime releases such as Studio Ghiblis films and independent British, Irish andAmerican films in the UK and sometimes Ireland.Optimum was acquired by StudioCanal, a subsidiary of Vivendi SA, in 2006. Since StudioCanal boughtOptimum, the French company distribute their large back catalogue of classic British films (many from theCannon and EMI catalogues) through Optimum releasing under the strand Optimum Classic. When namedOptimum, the companys image was that of a modern, independent new release and back catalogue distributor.Films were released under four strands: Optimum Releasing (Theatrical New Releases), Optimum HomeEntertainment (DVD, Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD New Releases), Optimum Classic (DVD Re-releases of backcatalogue films) and Optimum World (New and Back Catalogue World Cinema). The latter three appear to bestill being used, despite the companys name change.They released over 200 films a year and were one of the most prominent distributors in the UK independentfilm and world cinema market since the closure of Tartan Films in 2008.
Optimums distributionsThe genre of films they distribute vary from comedy, Horror, Romance and thrillers. Some of the thrillers they have distributed are:• Orphan• The Hurt Locker• The Loved OnesFilms they have distributed which have done well include Vicky Cristina Barcelona a Drama Romance film which had a budget of $15,500,000 estimated. It managed to gross a total of $23,213,577 which is a fair amount. Another film is The Last Exorcism which had a budget of $2,000,000 estimated and on opening weekend made over $20,366,813 but in total overall it grossed $40,990,055. This is more than triple the amount of the budget which just shows how a low budget film can do extremely well.
Universal PicturesUniversal Pictures a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios. They are horizontally integrated and on May 11, 2004, the controlling stake in the company was sold by Vivendi Universal to General Electric, parent of NBC. The resulting media super-conglomerate was renamed NBC Universal, while Universal Studios Inc. remained the name of the production subsidiary. In addition to owning a sizable film library spanning the earliest decades of cinema to more contemporary works, it also owns a sizable collection of TV shows through its subsidiary NBCUniversal Television Distribution. It also acquired rights to several prominent filmmakers works originally released by other studios through its subsidiaries over the years.One of the pros of Universal Pictures is that they would be able to distribute a film internationally without any outside help because they can afford to do so and the majority of their films do successfully well in the cinema and eventually go to DVD which also sell well. Unfortunately they don’t have their own TV channel which they can show their films on but most of their films et shown on various channels after 12-18 months so its still quite good.If I’m honest I don’t think they would be a good option for us to distribute our film because they have high budgets and since our film is an amateur independent film I feel that its best for us to have our film distributed by an British Independent film company.
Universals distributionsJust like Optimum releasing they distribute a wide range of films and the genres vary from Romance, Comedy, Action and thrillers. Examples of thrillers they have distributed are Stay Alive, Drag me to hell and The Unborn which have done pretty well. Other films they have distributed which have done successfully well was King Kong which had a high budget of $207 million but made $550.5million at box office which became the fourth highest grossing movie in Universal pictures history.DVD sales contributed over $100million towards the grosses. Another example of a film they have distributed which has done extremely well at box office is the 1999 movie The Mummy. The Mummy had a budget of $80million and grossed total of $415,933,406 at the box office, this led to sequels and TV shows. It was nominated for Best Sound at the academy awards & Best Visual Effects at the BAFTAs and in 2004 Universal pictures and Amblin Entertainment decided to open a roller coaster called Revenge of the Mummy.
Summit Home EntertainmentFounded in 1991 by film producers Bernd Eichinger, Arnon Milchan, and Andrew G. Vajna, initially to handle film sales in foreign countries. Summit later expanded into producing and co-financing films in 1995, and started fully financing films by 1997.Summit officially launched in 1993 by Patrick Wachsberger, Bob Hayward and David Garrett under the name Summit Entertainment LP as a production, distribution, and sales organization, thus making them vertically integrated. Among the companys early successes was American Pie, which Summit distributed outside of English-speaking territories. In 2006, it became a fully independent film studio, Summit Entertainment, with the addition of Rob Friedman a former executive at Paramount Pictures. The new company added major development, production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution branches with a financing deal led by Merrill Lynch and other investors giving it access to over $1 billion in financing. With that, Summit now releases their own films on DVD with the help of Universal Studios and Sony Pictures. Summit is also distributed theatrically and on DVD in Europe and in Canada by Entertainment One. Without doubt they would be able to distribute their films internationally as stated before" distributed theatrically and on DVD in Europe and Canada” but they do need the help of other conglomerates such as Universal Studios and Sony pictures to release their films on DVD. They do not have any links with TV channels but again this is not a major problem because people can still consume their films elsewhere.
Summits distributionsThey finally found success in November 2008 with the release of Twilight, a teen romance that made $408,773,703 worldwide. In the spring of 2009, Summit released Knowing, the companys second movie to open at number one at the box office and made $182,492,056 worldwide.Other films they have distributed include thriller ‘The Hurt Locker’ grossing $16,400,000 at box office which gave Summit its first Oscar-winning for Best Picture, the animated film Astro Boy, the teenage horror thriller Sorority Row which made $11,965,282 at box office, the low-budget Action thriller Push and the 2010 hit ‘RED’ also grossing a high amount of $87,940,198 at box office and nominated for a 2010 Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category.
Distributor we think would want to distribute our filmAfter doing research into different media institutions I’ve thought about the type of distributors that I think is best suitable to distribute our thriller and have settled for Optimum Release. The reason I have chose them is because they are an British film distribution & production company who release independent British films which is what our thriller is. Leading on from the point I made earlier, they do thriller genres too and because they distribute independent films and they are an independent film company based in the UK it comes as an advantage for us because out film is of British heritage and will appeal more to a British audience. Also our film will have a low budget due to the camera equipment we will use and the type of actors/actresses we will use along with the locations. They don’t have their own TV channel but that’s not that much of a problem as they have their own DVD company which our audience can watch from their TVs at home. Although they distribute in the UK they’ll be able to distribute internationally under one of their four strands Optimum Releasing (theatrical new releases) as well as he other three strands. With the marketing process that would be cheap too as we could use social networking sites such as Twitter & Facebook which many young people are signed up to. This in return will be of much benefit to our film because our thriller is aimed at young teens and adults ages 15-24.
Distributors for our film continued…My groups opening to our thriller film, called ‘Live To Tell’, is an independent thriller film and the group and I discussedthe sort of media institution which would distribute our media product and realised that our thriller film is of non-mainstream culture. Our film, I believe, would appeal more to Film 4 a British independent distribution/productioncompany who are vertically integrated and I do not believe that it would appeal to the likes of Universal Pictures becausesuch a huge media conglomerate would require our film to have a high budget and use better technology. Also it wouldmean that our film would have to include mainstream actors/actresses which Universal Pictures nearly almost always havein their films. Popular ‘Universal Pictures’ actors and actresses would include names like Denzel Washington & RussellCrowe from the 2007 crime film American Gangster.Without further a due Film 4 may be more interested in the funding of our thriller film, instead of UniversalPictures, due to a non-mainstream cast. In our thriller film the main actors are our fellow students JenessaTawiah, Abiola Fatusin & Richard who is one of my group members. As a group we directed and produced the opening toour thriller which Film 4 may take into account as one of their Ethos is to develop new UK talent giving us an advantage.Furthermore social networking sites across the internet is a very powerful way of gaining fans or to advertise ‘Live ToTell’ for free. Film 4 have distributed a wide range of films including thrillers like ‘The Crying Game’ which was nominatedfor 6 academy awards winning Best original screenplay. They’ve also produced Slumdog millionaire which was distributedby Fox searchlight pictures and it got nominated for ten academy awards and won eight in total which was the highest forany film in 2008.Fox searchlight pictures established in 1994, may be another Distributor we could use as they specialise particularly inindependent and British films. They’re a film division of Fox Filmed Entertainment alongside Fox Studio 20 th CenturyFox. They’ve distributed many low budget films which have done extremely well at box office e.g. NapoleonDynamite, Juno and Slumdog Millionaire as mentioned before. Napoleon Dynamite had a budget of $400,000 but its grossrevenue was almost $50million. Although the above films which have been low budget have done well, I think the best lowbudget media product which resembles our thriller is the 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project. It had a budget around$600,000 and lead to a worldwide gross of over $248.3million which is good considering the fact they used a handheldcamera and the woods to create such a film. But while most low budget films are backed by distributors, it’s common forlow budget films to be produced without one and this results in producers much like me and my group to rely on audiencereactions at film festivals. So maybe if we show our film at a film festival it would help in terms of pre-promotion andhelp us gain acclaim and attention for the film and might lead to a limited release in theatres. In terms of advertising ourfilm and gaining recognition many people sign up to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and even You Tube to view and watchonline activity. If we publicly broadcast our thriller film across these websites, we can engage with the general public toget insight into what they think of our media production.