Distribution • Distributers are the economic core of the commercial film industry • Filmmakers need them to circulate their work and exhibitors need them to supply their screens • Six major distributors of Hollywood: Warner Bros, Paramount, Walt Disney/Buena Vista, Sony/Columbia, 20th Century Fox, and Universal • Films they release account for 95% of ticket sales in the US and Canada and ½ of the int’l market • Majors have been successful cuz filmmaking they can endure the risks of big time movie making • A film breaks even or shows a profit only after its release on tv or home video
Distribution • In US, theatre owners need to see film before bidding on it (what was it like before?) • Everywhere else in the world, distributors may force exhibitors to rent a film without seeing it, called Blind Bidding • Exhibitors may also be pressured to rent a package of films in order to get desirable items or Block Booking • Distributors make min 90% of first week’s gross, dropping gradually to 30% after. (What does that mean for theatres, if a movie fails?) • Distributor allows the exhibitor to deduct from the gross the expenses of running the theatre (negotiated ahead of time), called the house nut • Out of the proceeds , the producer must pay all profit participants- directors, actors, execs, and investors
Majors and Minors • Major distributors all belong to multinational corporations devoted to leisure activities -i.e. Time Warner owns Warner Bros, Buena Vista owns Disney/ABC • independent and overseas filmmakers try to pre-sell distribution rights and find it at film festivals • By belonging to conglomerates, distributors gain access to financing, stock issues, and other sources of funding • Distributors arrange release dates, make prints, and launch advertising campaigns
Distribution Strategies • Platforming- the film opens first in a few big cities - gradually goes from big cities and eventually goes to wide release -if successfully done, it builds anticipation for the film - gains critical support and garners interest • Wide release: a film opens at the same time in many cities and towns • - only available to films that are supported by major distributors • - they hope that with wide release, that the film will be a “must see” film. • Because of pirating, distributors have tried to do release to date so that people internationally cannot get the films beforehand
Selling the Film • Theatres are supplied with a trailer, a short preview for upcoming film • Believed to be the most effective form of marketing • Other forms: press junkets, star interviews, online ads, press kits • Internet started to be used as a main source after success of Blair Witch Project • Merchandising: shirts, toys, etc. • Cross-promotion: allows a film and a product line to be advertised simultaneously
Exhibition • Theatrical Exhibition- public viewing, paid admission, -some sites include, theatres, museums, art centers, film festivals, etc. • Nontheatrical- home video, cable, and satellite transmissios, schools and colleges • US is most lucrative theatrical market with 32% of global box office receipts • If a independent doesn’t find distribution at festival, can go straight to DVD or to a channel like IFC or Sundance
Ancillary Markets • Biggest market is video: airlines and hotels pay-per-view DVD network tv/cable • Only 1/5th of Americans attend movies regularly, so has kept the theatrical market going • DVDs and home viewing has helped to maintain the theatre market - in 2007 $9.6 billion earned at theatres, $24 billion on home sales does it say to distributors?