Tuesday, 7 December 2010


My notes on distribution in general;
What is distribution?
The stage between production + exhibition which involves all of the deals done to get films shown. Promotion involves paid for 'above the line' advertising - which will be funded as part of the project; trailers, posters, billboards etc. 'Below the line' advertising is unpaid for, e.g interviews, reviews, word of mouth.
Is it all fair?
Big companies control much of the industry, as they control distribution of their own productions. Films are loaned out to cinemas for a finite period.
In the UK film market an increase in the quantity of screens showing films has not lead to an increase in the number of films shown.
Release of a film;

  • Marketability = identifying target audience and devising a strategy
  • Appropriate budget for box office expectation
  • Media partnership - decide who is best to link up with
Planning a release

  • Chosing a genre, age group, director, if your audience is semi literate.
Target audience

  • Focus on target audience - compared to past films
  • Use an element of famble
  • People over the age of 45 generally take 1 week to decide whether to watch a film or not, whereas teenagers are more spontaneous
P+A budgeting

  • Word of mouth - free advertising, can make or break a film.
  • Below the line advertising.
  • Screening programmes
  • Advertising costs, how to use the budget depending on what section it is spent on.

  • Time of the year
  • Weather - rain - more likely to go to the cinema than in the summer
  • Winter - darker earlier
  • TV adverts are more succesful in winter as people are indoors more
Word of mouth

  • Critical depending on movie
  • Screenings feed word of mouth - vital. Works both ways, can spread good or bad feedback.
  • Effects the life expectancy of films.

  • In 2006, 20% of all the DVD sales in the UK were pirate copies
Digital distribution advantages

  • Promises to transform the film industry
  • Making it normality to download films via broadband
  • Advantage- offers identical version of the film
  • Simultaneous global distribution, puts an end to the time gap
2 different views on distribution;
Toby Miller -50% of the money goes on marketing. Hollywood anticipates.
Tony Angellotti - Films are made with audience in mind. Audience decide film choices, stars etc.

Does marketing a film really matter?
Despite bad reviews, lavish marketing ensured pirates of the carabien 2 made over £50 million in the UK box office, 1.5 million copies of the DVD were purchased 10 days after release.
The Dark Knight broke viral records by costing £185 million to make.
The Dark Knight was released on the 20.7.08 and shown in 4336 screens across the UK, contrasting with This Is England which was released on the 29.4.07 and was on just 62 screens.

5 Major distributors dominate the UK film industry;

  1. United International Pictures (Universal are part of this company)
  2. Warner Brothers
  3. Buena Vista
  4. 20th Century Fox
  5. Sony
9/10 films in the UK are viewed as a result of these distributors. Most films are directly linked to Hollywood Production companies, who prioritise Hollywood films for profit. Usually blockbusters are distributed via blanket release (It is shown everywhere) comparing with other films which are considered an 'event'. One of the outcomes of the above distribution arrangement is that half of the films released in the Britain don't reach the whole company.

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