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© 2009 Fil No unaut FDA than Informati
FDA Guide to UK film distribution 2009/2010
Foreword by Lord Puttnam CBE Film distributors deliver the audience Acquisition Planning the release Film marketing and publicity Licensing films to exhibitors The wider picture Working in film distribution About Film Distributors’ Association 28 30 34 24 16 10 6 4 2
Audience-focused distribution is, and will remain, vital to the prospects of individual films, and to the industry as a whole.
FOREWORD by Lord Puttnam CBE
Lord Puttnam CBE
President, Film Distributors’ Association
traditional approaches melt away. addition to the 500 or more titles released in UK cinemas every year. They retain an extraordinary power to amaze as much as amuse us.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'% Movies are capable of enriching pretty well every aspect of our lives.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. This is no small task. as well as inspiring the fashions and advertising images that spring up all around us. and what are the key decisions you must weigh up? It’s my sincerest hope that you enjoy exploring the essential life of a film beyond its production phase.-. they influence the games we enjoy and the music we play.-./*'012'34/. in fact when compared to many other sectors. But research confirms that most cinemagoers know in advance which film they want to see – and that’s principally a result of competing distributors’ efforts to promote interest in the title(s) they are handling. particularly when so many other entertainment options are available both inside and outside the home. positively buoyant. thanks in no small measure to the inability of any other medium to match the immersive experience cinema offers. and that this overview will make you want to discover even more. only to the extent that they truly connect with their audience. Tailor-made. But films can have an impact. Every aspect of the communications and entertainment industry is undergoing rapid change. 3 . Sharing great stories has always been part of human nature. films only come to life when they invade the consciousness of the citizens – consumers – for whom they were intended./*'012'34/. you can look through the eyes (or lens!) of a distributor and consider how you might launch a film."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.!"#!$%&'()*+'. What sort of business considerations would you take into account. During this decade of almost continual changes and challenges UK cinema-going has been remarkably resilient. It is the task of distributors to identify and deliver the largest possible audience for every film. vital to the prospects of individual films. and the businesses that serve them. as digital technologies open up new opportunities for audiences. both commercial and social. Beyond that. Like any other product. Inevitably. and stories told on film look and sound their very best in modern cinemas. and that’s in With this guide. and to the industry as a whole. and will remain. But through it all a few fundamentals remain rock-solid. whatever the medium or format in question. audience-focused distribution is.
deep-rooted desire for great stories on the screen as well as in print. shaping the way we see the world. starting from scratch (except for a sequel) and realising its potential. You may be familiar with local cinemas. consumers call 4 Film distributors deliver the audience . But did you know that. It’s vital to the health of the film industry as a whole. or find their place in the world./*'012'34/. the film business is product-driven: the films themselves are the main reason why we buy tickets./*'012'34/. Films don’t become well known. by accident. Distribution is the highly competitive business of launching and sustaining films in the market place. But today more than ever. media software stores and movie websites. You may appreciate that some films influence our culture. Like other forms of entertainment. There’s an insatiable. You may have read or heard a great deal about actors and filmmakers. there’s never been a better time to be a film fan. there is a dynamic sector working to connect every new film with the largest possible audience? This is the distribution sector.-. The distributor’s challenge is to bring each one to market."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. right at the heart of the film industry.!"#!$%&'()*+'.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'C With so much information available in so many different forms.-.
free-to-air television. who are likely to have nurtured their projects for years through the development and production stages • Exhibitors (cinema operators). The profile built up on a theatrical launch can endure and reap dividends throughout the release cycle. and takes delivery of a master print of the finished film Distributor presents the film to exhibitors and negotiates bilateral agreements to have it shown in cinemas Distributor’s marketing campaign aims to create a ‘want to see’ buzz among the target audience and launches the film Film prints/disks including the British Board of Film Classification certificate are delivered to cinemas a few days before opening Film’s run extends any number of weeks subject to demand. Theatrical distributors share and discuss their release plans with: • Filmmakers and producers. This generic guide to UK distribution focuses on how films are launched in cinemas. But the cinema is just one link in the value chain. advertising agencies and designers • Colleagues handling the release in subsequent formats The film value chain Usually feature films open first theatrically – in cinemas. Films may be scheduled repeatedly on TV channels year after year 5 In an age when we’re all bombarded with media choices.!"#!$%&'()*+'. A cinema release has long been.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'= Producer/company acquires rights to film a story or treatment Screenplay is developed by one or more writers Production finance and cast and crew are confirmed Principal photography takes place. when and where to watch. deciding for themselves what information to receive or reject. the film is released in subsequent windows (home entertainment.-. access or delete. editing and scoring Distributor develops release strategy. who present the finished films on screen • A host of external partners and suppliers such as publicists.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. in studios and/or on agreed locations. considers release date. films are released in flexible timescales on a growing range of other formats so consumers may choose how. They come across to their best effect as audiences enjoy a uniquely immersive. uninterrupted experience. followed by some months of postproduction. various forms of pay/subscription television • Finally./*'012'34/. the most effective way to bestow stature on a film and create demand to see it. commercial and professional skills are needed in all branches of the film industry. distribution included. After the big screen run.-. ."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'./*'012'34/. and remains. television) and quickly becomes a catalogue title the shots. the cinema presents films with a vital shop window. influencing the commercial value a film subsequently commands. and made available online for download • Then. So how do people get to know about the range of films on offer and come to feel they really want to see some in particular? Team effort Creative. which may be augmented by additional marketing Following its run in cinemas. I know only too well that films do not exist for their own sakes… they only exist when they are experienced by an audience. The chart (right) broadly summarises the overall lifecycle of a film. These are the main ‘ancillary markets’: • Home entertainment – films are packaged for release on digital media such as DVD and Blu-Ray. As a filmmaker. Sir Alan Parker CBE The cinema is the place where filmmakers aspire to have their stories showcased.
distributors act under license on their behalf. Copyright systems enable creators to receive a fair return for their innovation and investment.-."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. In bringing films to market.!"#!$%&'()*+'. 6 Acquisition ./*'012'34/.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'C As films are creative works – intellectual property rather than physical goods – their copyright is owned by the people or organisations that produce or finance them.-./*'012'34/.
This may be viable on the basis of a hot script and anticipated cast. and ideally should. As in other countries. the UK has half a dozen major distributors (directly affiliated to the Hollywood studios) and many independent (unaffiliated) distributors who tend to handle films made outside the major studios. Irish audiences to Irish stories.-. most of the available grants and funds are coordinated by the UK Film Council. original or outstanding. the government’s strategic agency for film). and so on. sales agent or studio. including: Importantly./*'012'34/. and set a date on which the distribution license expires. Some theatrical distributors do not handle distribution in other formats. The contract will set out how the income from the release is to be apportioned and accounted for. 7 . be sought before it goes into production. but they will have sister companies or business partners that do so. specifying the rights they hold in respect of the title.-. The distribution contract Distributors sign a formal agreement with the producer. Distributors normally seek to acquire all available rights in their particular territory. characters and situation grip the intended audience? Does the film ‘deliver’ and justify the cost and risk of a theatrical release? Distributors recognise the importance of local product. • pre-sales to various territories via a specialist sales agent • bank loans (subject to prevailing economic conditions) • institutional investors • private individuals When considering acquiring a new film. These normally include the right to release it in UK cinemas and promote it in all media before and during its release. spreading the risk and opportunity across multiple platforms. producers tend to seek finance from multiple sources. Any local distributor of whatever ownership may compete to pick up a film with available rights.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. so competition to sign a hot property can be fierce. in addition to the theatrical window. In practice.!"#!$%&'()*+'.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'& Where and how do UK distributors obtain the films they release? From one or more of various sources: • beneficial tax schemes • public subsidies (in the UK. • A third-party sales agent. during or after production A film’s marketability (how it can be promoted to its particular audience) and playability (how it actually performs in the market place) are not necessarily the same thing./*'012'34/. Is there an imaginative idea or ‘hook’ that could be a springboard for a marketing and publicity campaign? A distributor’s opinion on a film’s marketability may. Who is the audience – who does the film ‘speak to’? Do the story."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. British audiences naturally warm to good quality British films. acting on behalf of a producer • A continuous flow of new content from a parent studio • A studio or production company with whom the distributor has negotiated an output deal covering a slate of titles • A single title acquired at any stage before. There may also be provision for the film to be edited locally (or not) in order to secure a particular classification. Generally it’s preferable for a distribution deal to be in place before principal photography begins. the agreement usually extends to the ancillary markets including the further right to license the film to UK broadcasters. distributors will look for something fresh.
the rights available to an incoming distributor would extend only to theatrical. directed again by Shawn Levy. No distributor pre-sales may make it harder to finance a new production from other sources.-. Each case is affected by variables such as the film property itself. During this decade Stiller has become firmly established as one of the world’s most popular comedy stars. inhabited by larger-than-life costume characters from Night at the Museum 2 and four giant screens relaying clips from the film to celebrate its half-term release./*'012'34/. His next movie.!"#!$%&'()*+'. the Saturday of the spring bank holiday weekend. is The Marc Pease Experience with Jason Schwartzman. the UK computer games industry clocks up annual software sales of around £2 billion. Worth close to £3 billion – treble the value of cinema ticket sales – the home entertainment market is extremely important to the film industry. The strong cast included Ricky Gervais and Steve Coogan.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. the greater use of digital technologies is bringing change to traditional models throughout the film and cinema industry. In addition. it is likely to have pre-secured TV rights as part of the deal. a different brand of comedy. No fixed formulae apply to film financing or advances. The larger the production budget. the distributor may pay an advance/minimum guarantee against future earnings to the producer or sales agent. In some cases. DVD/Blu-Ray and downloads.-. Often a distributor becomes a partner in a project. In such a case. 8 Acquisition continued Night life: Three years after his first Night at the Museum. the more likely a film is to have a distributor attached before all its financing is confirmed. If a broadcaster has contributed to the financing of a feature film./*'012'34/. cast and market conditions. Twentieth Century Fox . Ben Stiller returned in the summer sequel for all the family. We buy or rent 350 million films a year from high street and online retailers. Today."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'$ The UK has a thriving home entertainment sector. On 23 May 2009. London’s Oxford Street was transformed into a traffic-free kids’ playground. The advance commitment is for the distribution license rights plus the costs of theatrical prints and advertising (P&A). contributing to its development/ production costs and later bringing it to market. the script. Increasing numbers of homes have large plasma screens delivering HD-TV and digital TV switchover continues around the regions.
or as many as 25–30 a year.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'" Distributors prepare reports for the producer or rights owner. directed by Chris Weitz and again starring Londoner. chopping and changing all too quickly. with more than 500 releases a year all competing for screen time. has been announced for 2010. As laid down in the distribution contract. today’s event movies.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-. New Moon. Robert Pattinson as Edward and Kristen Stewart as Bella./*'012'34/. A third installment. often containing many computer-generated effects. detailing the marketing spend. A further $100m or more is often spent on releasing and marketing such films worldwide. together with forecast and actual theatrical revenues.-. Although the entertainment value a film imparts is not linked to its production budget. 9 . media space and audience interest. 60% in December alone. can cost $150m . It grossed over £11 million in UK cinemas and $380m worldwide. opens in 2009."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. when the first film in the new franchise was unleashed. Inevitably. A typical week sees around ten new films opening in UK cinemas. Eclipse. E1 Films Fresh blood: Heavyweight outdoor advertising helped to launch the Twilight saga in towns and cities throughout the UK.!"#!$%&'()*+'. More than a million copies of Stephenie Meyer’s young adult vampire romance novels were sold in the UK in 2008. E1 Films Market characteristics Individual distributors may release any number of films. such reports are submitted at least quarterly in the first year following launch and usually twice yearly thereafter.$200m to produce. The second film. churning./*'012'34/. so the stakes are extremely high. the market place is highly competitive. sometimes just one or two.
"<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. bearing in mind all the related costs.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. distributors gauge the audience for each film. statistical research and professional judgement. As with every business plan.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Who is the film for? Who can be convinced to buy a cinema ticket to see it and why should they do so? What sort of audiences have similar films attracted recently? Only when distributors have considered what a film may earn (with low/medium/high estimates) can they prepare a budget to release it.-./*'012'34/. The most important strategic decisions a distributor makes are when and how to release a film in order to optimise its chances.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6! Every film has its own tailor-made distribution plan. commercial experience. the goal is Through a combination of market knowledge. which the distributor develops in consultation with the producers and/or studio. 10 Planning a release .-./*'012'34/.
up from barely one a year at the low point of the mid-1980s. animals. and the industry is working to encourage more visits. Distribution plans are often confirmed only when the finished product is available to view. can help the distributor to be more confident of the expected audience or box-office prospects. most films do not make a profit from their theatrical runs alone. Focus on the audience A detailed understanding of the target audience – age group and gender. media consumption patterns – always informs the subsequent decisions on how and where a particular film is promoted in order to reach them. It’s a function of the market that the more More than half of 15–24 year-olds in the UK visit the cinema at least once a month – it’s a favourite out-of-home leisure activity for young people – but overall. But launching films is expensive and risky – audiences have so many other leisure choices in and out of the home. Rolling the distribution dice Audience tastes are notoriously unpredictable and traditional preferences may not count for a lot in practice. UK cinemagoers are upmarket. In reality. The cinema audience is broadening as the population ages and diversifies. after which the viewers complete questionnaires. week out. Yet this is still a lower frequency than in other countries such as Ireland. the internet plays a central role in their lives. They are the most voracious media consumers of any age group. just a quarter of the population goes that often. but every project is a oneoff.7 a year. . Nobody can be absolutely certain what makes a hit.!"#!$%&'()*+'./*'012'34/. Early information can be gleaned from discussions with the filmmakers and by reading the script. the US and Canada. but also lifestyles. The most frequent cinemagoers tend to be – teenagers. Particular films may appeal to people with particular interests – say in history. more discerning segment who may not frequent cinemas as much – the more outstanding it has to be to sustain a theatrical life.-. for example from families with young children to teenage males and/or females to older adults. Australia. whatever. young adults. a film is aimed at an audience beyond 15–24 year-olds or family groups – perhaps an older.-. Lord Richard Attenborough CBE 11 Market research may be conducted to probe audience reactions at pre-release test screenings or to evaluate alternative marketing campaigns – fundamental considerations for every release. social networks. If you look at how a film performs. But the distributor’s challenge is always to attract as wide a spread as possible – identifying niche interest groups as well as the broad mainstream. certain countries. and although television remains popular. and adults aged 35 and above account for a growing proportion of ticket sales. of course. students. especially for more specialised fare. cars. It’s important never to lose sight of a film’s core target audience. cinemagoers discover particular films they like or dislike when they open. Naturally the audience can vary considerably film by film. It is clear to me that films only achieve their extraordinary potential when they are able to reach global audiences.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'66 to recoup all the costs and turn a profit. while cinemagoing is a shared experience with an average of three people per party. or sometimes a combination. Generally.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. Each release is individually planned given current circumstances. week in. and ideally helping a film to ‘break out’ and ‘cross over’. When planning a new release./*'012'34/. the greater its box-office takings. relying solely on conventional wisdom is never an option. the more likely it is to be attracting infrequent cinemagoers and repeat visits. Test screenings. The average number of visits per person works out at 2. or when and where it might happen. Notwithstanding the best made plans."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.
Entertainment/myspace. The competitive jungle As well as the target audience and commercial risk. You ain’t seen the best of me yet: The young director of the 2009 version of Fame. wrote a blog on myspace during production and post-production in Los Angeles. which season? School holiday dates may vary around the UK."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'./*'012'34/.!"#!$%&'()*+'. But just because one romantic comedy or action adventure plays successfully to a particular audience is no guarantee that the next such release will do likewise: it depends on the individual film and market conditions. market share and profitability fluctuate year by year.com 12 Planning a release continued . reflecting the success or otherwise of individual titles. each distributor’s earnings. • Is there any star power among the cast? What were the lead star’s last couple of films and how were they received commercially and critically? Is the film made by a ‘name’ director or producer? • Are any cast members available for UK/international publicity or to attend a premiere? • Is it a film for a holiday period? If so. a prospective mass market blockbuster. playing for longer and generating greater returns than expected.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'65 A few films every year become ‘sleeper’ hits. updated almost 30 years after the original musical film. Kevin Tancharoen's cast featured a group of up-and-coming talents alongside ‘teachers’ including Kelsey Grammer and Debbie Allen. as it’s such an unpredictable. or a specialised film for a more discrete audience? Inevitably. It’s well nigh impossible to entice people to a film in which they have no interest. and with those in • Competition is always a primary consideration. Which films are other distributors likely to release at the same time and during the following weeks – especially those targeted at a similar audience? Is there space in the market for something different – some ‘counterprogramming’? Are the most appropriate screens for this film available and likely to be offered? Projected release dates often change as competing distributors jockey for position week by week. product-driven business. what factors do distributors take into account when developing their release plans? • Is it an event film.-.-./*'012'34/.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.
a saturation release ‘at cinemas everywhere’ may open simultaneously on 1. with an increasingly diverse population of 7.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6% other countries. The disks are significantly less expensive to duplicate than 35mm copies (around 10% of the cost). This strategy. Distributors submit a copy of each film to the BBFC for classification as soon as possible. due to its stars or makers. whether 35mm or digital. when the annual awards publicity reaches its peak. one print can service more than one screen if it is ‘interlocked’ between adjacent projectors. What kinds of films have been released successfully in particular slots in previous years? • Is it a film with hopes for award nominations? The Academy Award®. Sometimes. a film might be ‘platformed’ in just one location before rolling out. UK distributors procure and supply more than 100. paying a fee according to the film’s length. • Will the film lead the media reviews of that week’s new releases? • Is there already a buzz about the film. where local audiences are known to favour such titles. may play in selected screens in London and some university towns.400 screens. Every year. as a disappointing performance overseas may adversely affect perceptions here. Golden Globe and Orange British Academy Film Award contenders often open in the UK between December– February.000 new prints. The UK has approximately 650 cinemas with 3. what elements distinguish it or give contemporary resonance over and above its predecessor(s)? Satisfying anticipated demand Different releases are managed in different ways.-. Very occasionally. 13 • Has the film already opened in the US or elsewhere? Substantial success in the US. or perhaps some controversial subject matter? What is posted about the film online? • If it is a sequel or franchise entry. For example. A digital release takes the form of specially encoded media disks which are despatched to cinemas. where the content is ingested into a powerful server and played out through a state-of-the-art digital projector./*'012'34/. helps to accommodate mass audiences eager to see a film at the earliest opportunity."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. London. . before touring more widely over the following weeks. reported via websites and other media. many films are released digitally as well as on 35mm celluloid prints.5m people. By contrast. can contribute to positive word of mouth in the UK – although this can work both ways. Initially. across all films. playing at two or more screens per multiplex. the specialised release of. A majority of films released go out on fewer than 200 prints. Digital regeneration Today. usually deployed for ‘tentpole’ titles such as large-scale sequels or star-led holiday releases. although this can cause a bottleneck in an already congested release schedule. Digital cinema presents new releasing and programming opportunities for film distributors and cinema operators respectively. accounts for about a quarter of UK cinema admissions.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. a book on which it is based./*'012'34/. You’ll find consumer advice about the content included in a panel on the film’s advertising.000 screens UK-wide.!"#!$%&'()*+'. the film • What certificate will the film have? The certificate awarded by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is important as it can affect the potential audience. while digital encryption can also render the disks highly secure. a foreign language film or revived classic may comprise 25 prints or fewer.-. say.
Disney Paramount Budgeting the release As early as possible. A distribution budget may be itemised as shown opposite.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6C The digital images appear on screen in pristine quality and do not deteriorate over time – there is no wear and tear. the distributor views the finished film and confirms the release plan."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. which enhances certain stories dramatically while giving audiences a comfortable.-. As you probably know. more and more films – live-action and animation (two examples right) – are being released in 3D. This covers both the launch and sustaining of the film post-release./*'012'34/. It details all the print costs associated with the physical release and all the advertising/publicity (‘ad pub’) costs associated with media and marketing activities: Digital projectors may also be adapted easily to present films in digital 3D. laser-sharp viewing experience. as is inevitable with 35mm projection machinery. where distributors pay all the release costs including marketing and the duplication of prints (35mm or digital).-. 14 Planning a release continued .-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. stable. The investment and projected returns can be reassessed subject to commercial performance week by week. In the UK. the distributor draws up and works to a comprehensive budget.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Digital remastering – though time-consuming and costly – enables classic films to return to the big screen looking as good as new./*'012'34/.
cinema hires Premiere (if any). But even inspired marketing can’t save a film for which the public has no appetite./*'012'34/.-.-. copying. distributors exercise formidable project management skills. cinema hires Talker screenings. 3D glasses if needed) Film certification charge (BBFC) £ Cost category continued Publicity Press screenings.g. 35mm prints Cost of 35mm prints Cost of IMAX® prints (if any) Trailer print costs Print transport to cinemas. including cans/labels Other print related costs Digital copies (for digital projection) Digital Master cost Encoding/encryption applications No. 15 ./*'012'34/. incl. often for several different releases at a time."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. if any Other production costs Other Research screening/exit polling. launch and sustain) Press/print advertising – national/regional TV advertising Radio advertising Outdoor advertising Online advertising Advertising in exhibitor brochures Other media costs Promotions On-air media promotion(s) Contribution to any retail partner/other promotion(s) Campaign production Film poster designs – teaser/main Poster printing Print advertising production TV spots production Radio ad production Film trailer production Subtitles/audio description tracks Official UK film website content Foyer POS display items origination & print Promotional leaflets/flyers. other incidental expenses Total (£) In co-ordinating all these elements. It’s possible for a fine film to get lost in the mêlée without careful handling and distinct promotion. incl. incl.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. digital copies Disk duplication cost Despatch to cinemas Other related costs (e. invitations/tickets Visiting talent hospitality/travel Festival screenings/travel Journalists’ travel/cuttings PR agency fees & expenses Press kits (online/electronic/printed matter) Other publicity costs £ Total UK distribution expenditure can vary from some thousands of pounds up to £4m–£5m per film. if any Additional materials (specify) Couriers.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Media (pre-launch.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6= Cost category 35mm prints (for conventional projection) No.
who have never had as much choice as there is today. However large or Distributors must compete for a significant small the marketing budget.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6C Complementing the distribution plan. raise awareness and engage interest. share of voice not only against other distributors but also other leisure activities in and out of the home.-. They all aim to entice the same public. 16 Film marketing AND PUBLICITY . must see film./*'012'34/. audiences must be reached in compelling ways and persuaded that this is an especially entertaining.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Their interest should peak as it opens in cinemas. Strategies to motivate audiences’ awareness/interest film by film Creative – Media – Publicity – Promotions – Online – Partnerships Who? What? Where? When? How? The marketing objective is to create visibility./*'012'34/.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. every film has a detailed marketing plan. cutting through the blizzard of competing messages.
Alternatively. Pre-requisite for favourable ‘word of mouth’ are high levels of awareness and strong interest. reuniting the stars of the original film (2001). They must bear in mind that different audiences react to advertising. 2009 also saw a brand new entry in the Fast & Furious action franchise. landscape orientation) or one-sheet format (the US equivalent with similar dimensions. distributors and their designers must work hard to make each one stand out. Today. credits and often a tagline to whet audiences’ appetites. In each case. Many months before release. whose poster focused single-mindedly on its leading man. A poster is produced for every release. window clings and mini-posters./*'012'34/. and can last much less. It was a smash-hit. distributors aim to reach as much of their target audience as possible. in quad format (the traditional UK size of 30”x 40”. Smith has found huge success in TV shows. theatrical runs seldom exceed six weeks. theme/genre. Sony Built-in audience appeal: Seven Pounds. while for younger audiences it is more appropriate to promote the film online. reunited Will Smith with director Gabriele Muccino following The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). and reach a decision to see a new film. colleague or relative can be the most powerful trigger for a cinema visit. in different ways. as a music artist and today as one of the world’s brightest film stars. as frequently but cost-effectively as possible. even for big hits. whose presence alone can help to open a movie. attracting its young male audience in mass numbers."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.-. Universal When constructing a campaign. an initial teaser poster may be created to announce that a film is coming and to whet the audience’s appetite. Poster The main image distilling the appeal of the film – its stars. Negative word of mouth is extremely difficult to overcome.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Film posters may be created by the studio or sales agent (as applicable) and rolled out internationally or adapted for use locally. With sometimes a dozen or more different posters on display in a cinema foyer at any one time.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6& Word of mouth Social recommendation is key – a personal recommendation from a friend.-. portrait orientation). they may be devised in the UK from scratch. Older audiences may respond best having seen a film advertised on television or in the press. .-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. on radio stations or bus shelter panels. a variety of complementary media and promotional options is considered: 17 Distributors also provide other display materials for cinema foyers – prime space for advertising current and future releases – such as cardboard standees. But distributors’ campaigns are generally effective as most cinemagoers know which film(s) they want to see before setting off for the cinema./*'012'34/. hopefully. banners. Post-release. depending on what approved materials are available and how the film is best presented to local audiences. a combination of good word of mouth and further advertising will combine to give the film ‘legs’.
and often the production. including short and extended clips. the internet plays a pivotal role in shaping many cinemagoers’ perceptions of new releases./*'012'34/. playing on the big screen to a captive audience of active cinemagoers. Naturally. and of course play widely online. production information. Trailer making is a filmmaking art in its own right. Most films have an official website (examples below) or perhaps a UK site hosted by a partner company. they may gradually accelerate the dripfeed with video diaries and blogs posted from the set. select trailers appropriate to the feature film before which they’re played. Even before principal photography begins. The internet helps distributors to start building awareness of a new film at a very early stage./*'012'34/.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6$ Trailers Distributors usually have a range of audiovisual ‘content’ to work with as they prepare campaigns. galleries of stills and behind-thescenes footage. Exhibitors. and more. Sometimes trailers for new theatrical releases are added to the front of suitably targeted DVDs. available material. Specialist agencies or production companies are briefed by local distributors to create a trailer from the 18 Film marketing continued Warner Bros.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-. of trailers. early in the production. and one or more trailers. may be preceded by early teasers (30–90 seconds). Online and mobile Fizzing with networks of film fans. aiming to engage the core audience more fully.000 copies circulated to cinemas.!"#!$%&'()*+'. in aiming to sell the film."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. approved by the producers. making-of material shot on set during production. Sony Paramount Disney Paramount . During shooting. screened shortly before a film opens. Distributors fund the duplication. Trailers are probably the single most cost-effective marketing technique.-. offering trailers. they may release news snippets or teaser images online. a wide release will often have 3. many sequences will not be finished. who programme their own screens. Full trailers. seeding interest among fans. they want to include a representative glimpse of the best bits but.
is prohibitive for most film releases given their potential returns. when and where they wish. People have grown accustomed to using media how. With limited budgets.!"#!$%&'()*+'. It opened strongly in UK cinemas. first left). Released in July.000 poster sites at the roadside or by railway platforms. There is no hiding place: the moment a film is screened. Film distributor websites incorporate links to exhibitor websites where local tickets may be bought online. outdoor sites and in the press is usually the largest expenditure item in a P&A budget. The UK has approximately 250. while ever more user-generated material. UK film distributors invest around £170m a year in media advertising alone to launch and sustain their releases.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. grossing £1. So audiences can easily opt out of advertising that doesn’t quickly spark their interest. Television and outdoor. as online communities swap opinions in a galaxy of chat rooms. consider inventive ways to reach particular audiences film by film.-. Media proliferation and fragmentation have given all advertisers a multitude of options. Event films/blockbusters with top stars need Folk heroes on both sides of the law have long been springboards for stories in print and on film. Notorious recounted the astonishing life and death of rap music star. Every week.-. Media costs rise and fall according to market conditions during the year. They strive to create a dialogue with the audience."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. 19 . Notorious BIG. Universal heavyweight advertising to support their wide releases. But the cost of TV advertising.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'6" But of course the internet is a two-way street – with individuals in control of their own viewing. Entertainment companies as a whole spend more than half a billion pounds on advertising each year. played by Jamal Woolard. Christian Bale starred in two ‘tentpole’ films in summer 2009. for example. Twentieth Century Fox Media advertising The cost of advertising placed on broadcast channels. the other being Terminator: Salvation. reviews and feedback can be shared instantly and constantly around the world. often including film or soundtrack grabs.1m in its first weekend (February 2009). Sometimes filmmakers and distributors invite ideas and bloggers’ suggestions have been known to make it into finished films. running into many hundreds of thousands of pounds or more for a package of spots in all regions. draws comments from wider networks. available across very many sites. distributors always Film clips are among the web’s most searchedfor content. thousands of local media outlets and hundreds of digital TV channels where advertising and promotions may be placed. to gain an active not a passive response. more than a billion text messages are sent in the UK alone. Michael Mann’s thriller Public Enemies starred Christian Bale as a dashing agent in the fledgling FBI locking horns with notorious ‘30s gangsters including John Dillinger (Johnny Depp./*'012'34/. not counting communication via email and websites. Terrestrial television is traditionally the most effective visual means of reaching a mass audience./*'012'34/. typically account for 70% of expenditure. taken together.
those for national and regional writers with longer lead-times are scheduled further in advance. A distributor’s publicity team. taken during production by a specially hired unit photographer and approved for publicity use. Wild Target and Gulliver’s Travels. outlets are interested in entertainment news and features. Film sets are normally strictly closed to the public. The distributor’s advertising campaign was designed to look suitably sumptuous and seductive.-. All these materials are disseminated via online pressrooms and distributors proactively devise ‘hooks’ or ‘angles’ for feature articles and media promotions. frequently supported by specialist agencies. arranges media interviews with available members of the film’s cast. in the way that display advertising is paid for. biographies. She had a string of films due for release in the following months. Momentum NatMag . Although positive reviews are no guarantee of commercial success. containing cast and crew lists./*'012'34/. But distributors may have Publicists compile press kits for journalists.!"#!$%&'()*+'. The Young Victoria was a deliciously intriguing romantic drama starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as Victoria and Albert in the years before she became Queen.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'5! Publicity Editorial coverage of a film can be highly persuasive. The more the film’s talent is willing and able to support the worldwide publicity effort. It’s very important to have a selection of fine images from the film. Blunt’s status as leading lady was reflected in her becoming the cover star of various glossy magazines as the film was released. and chaperones artists visiting the UK for junkets or premieres.-. including Sunshine Cleaning./*'012'34/. the better! Screenings for national critics are normally held on the Monday and Tuesday before a film opens to the public. In today’s media environment. The public often accepts independently-written news stories and features more readily than advertising. the film production process is conducted confidentially behind studio doors or on guarded locations. The space itself is not paid for.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. critics’ plaudits can still be important in helping to distinguish and champion certain films. Set visits: As with any product development. many channels and 20 Film marketing continued Regal entertainment: Scripted by Julian Fellowes. notable facts about the production and a synopsis."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. and extracts are often included in advertising. but column inches and airtime are limited and the subject of heavy competition in their own right. The Wolf Man.
giving or reflecting an event stature and providing a platform for photo opportunities and red carpet interviews. In making such visits.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. often within a very short period of time.-. especially of UK-based productions./*'012'34/. indicates how powerful and influential a storytelling medium the cinema can be. matching the film’s core audience. with tickets offered to readers of a particular print/online publication. Most premieres in the UK – around 50 a year – take place in London’s Leicester Square. Shortlists of nominations are announced 3–4 weeks prior to the presentation ceremonies. That audiences around the world can take a new set of characters to their hearts. Such exposure helps to stretch the film campaign and create additional talking points. Premieres Perceived as glamorous and exclusive.!"#!$%&'()*+'. entertaining launch. arrangements will be made with the unit publicists and producers.-. clothing. which deliver global profile and prestige. which can generate significant revenues in their own right. Manufacturers may be licensed to use approved logo devices. . Preview screenings are targeted carefully."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. and costly trade campaigns unfold to secure voters’ attention to particular titles. Media promotions. Sometimes a film is previewed widely to the public a few days before its official release date./*'012'34/. along with key journalists. but from the distributor’s professional perspective the main aim of a premiere is to give the film a high-profile. normally in exchange for an advance fee set against subsequent royalty payments. games and books. Sometimes a gala screening in aid of charity raises a substantial sum via ticket sales and donations. can make effective use of film merchandise or location holidays as prizes. Tie-in merchandise can embrace action figures. tie-in advertising under license by a promotional partner or a third-party company with product placement in a film can add substantial weight to the distributor’s own campaign.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'56 valuable opportunities to visit the set. Merchandising Many releases. It may develop into a popular cultural phenomenon and become an international news item. images or character likenesses on specific products. ringtones. screen savers. but painstaking and expensive to organise! Distributors’ publicists organise premieres as an official launch for a film. Awards buzz: The build up to the major awards (see page 22) is an important time for publicists promoting the films vying for consideration. or listeners of a radio programme. restaurants or on packs. 21 Occasionally. anything. have merchandising programmes co-ordinated by the film company or an external consultancy. and often transmitted worldwide. the distributor will endeavour to arrange promotional partnerships. They also enable customers to interact with the film characters by collecting premium items or entering a competition. too. a film becomes a ubiquitous event. Importantly. exhibitors or marketing partners. Such tie-ins generate displays for the film in places where conventional advertising cannot reach such as shops. particularly family films. Films regularly have official soundtracks. placed on an appropriate channel or publication. Some TV companies present halfhour specials devoted to a big premiere. calendars. Promotional partnerships Depending on the film’s theme and target audience. Star-studded premieres and after-show parties are covered by celebrity publications and news media. saturating the media as well as appearing in advertising. partner campaigns and other outlets. Preview screenings A useful way to fuel pre-release word of mouth among audience segments that the distributor wants to persuade to see the film. This is a way to satisfy demand to see it as soon as possible and to boost the opening boxoffice receipts. performances and contributions. The season of mounting speculation lasts around five months leading up to the annual Academy Awards (Oscars®). boosting the all-important buzz factor.
producers.-. serve various functions: • a market. Venice and Toronto./*'012'34/. Other important events in the industry calendar include the Edinburgh and London film festivals. the American Film Market and the Mercato International Film e Documentario (MIFED) in Milan.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'55 • a competition. . such as Cannes in May (right).-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. and almost as many journalists. Distributors sometimes choose to launch films at a suitable international festival.-. Such accolades flashed on a film’s poster can add prestige but may also characterise it as ‘arty’. where critics and insiders may discover them and go on to champion them in early reviews. 22 Film marketing continued Forthcoming films can become news items just by virtue of being selected to screen at a major festival. These festivals. where distributors seeking to acquire product may meet with sellers (agents. Trade papers publish daily editions in print and online for industry members and journalists. • a high-profile platform where films can be showcased prior to release./*'012'34/."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. FDA FDA Festivals There are dozens of busy film festivals in towns and cities worldwide.!"#!$%&'()*+'. are presently at Sundance (Utah). each with their own personality. The eyes of the film world and the mass media are focused on the leading festivals. where new titles may be screened to juries of filmmakers and awarded prizes. studios). but the main annual events attended by thousands of international film buyers and sellers. which accommodates many premieres and junkets. Berlin. Cannes.
for example by supporting in-school film clubs and filmmaking schemes for young people. Inspiring young audiences The film industry reaches out to the next generation of filmmakers and audiences in various ways. distributors hold marketing team meetings. designed for key stage 2 literacy.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. can require a year’s lead-time. Film as a powerful educational tool: Engaging. With 4 or 5 weeks to go there may be low awareness: each campaign is effectively a new product launch. Film Education also promotes educational use of local cinemas by arranging screenings for school parties. such as a major promotional partnership. Some aspects of marketing. generally running in the media for a few intense weeks. such as running extra advertising to capitalise on good reviews or awards nominations/wins. Accessible releasing Many films are released each year with digital subtitles and audio description. which is then offered to appropriate segments of its database of primary and secondary teachers. citizenship and information & communications technology classes. you’ll know that subtitles and audio description tracks have been produced for its release: Film Education/Universal 23 . Whenever you see these symbols on a film advertisement. Some film trailers are presented online in accessible formats too.!"#!$%&'()*+'."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. a generic resource exploring how copyright underpins creative enterprise. Film Education/FDA Tracking and refining Research companies working for the distributors may track levels of awareness among audiences as a release date approaches. may be turned around at very short notice. New titles are made available to cinemas every week as a service to cinemagoers with less than perfect sight or hearing./*'012'34/. reflecting on the films they have in current release and progressing plans for forthcoming titles./*'012'34/.-. while others. and teacher training seminars.-.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'5% Every week. curriculum-based materials supplied to UK teachers in 2009 included an interactive guide to filmmaking for 14–19 yearolds based on The Boat That Rocked. Distributors may also commission a charity named Film Education to create a study resource themed by subject and key stage to a new release. special events such as the annual National Schools Film Week. and Coming Soon?.
!"#!$%&'()*+'.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'5C A key consideration in any distribution plan is where the film should play./*'012'34/.-. Like all retailers.-. may specialise in films for discerning tastes. how can the theatrical release achieve its greatest impact? How many screens. Every theatrical release is effectively a jointventure: the distributor supplies the film."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. while for smaller releases. particular screens are likely to be identified and the release nurtured carefully from week to week. depending on their location and catchment area. Distributors 24 Licensing films to exhibitors . are likely to be sustainable? screen their forthcoming titles for cinema bookers.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. Which sorts of cinemas and screens are most appropriate? Given the intended audience./*'012'34/. Many cinemas aim to show a broad spectrum of titles. and therefore prints. Others. and present release dates and advertising plans. Potential blockbusters may be booked into every available multiplex simultaneously. the exhibitors provide the screens. cinema operators must be persuaded to ‘stock the product’. and the arrangements are reviewed week by week.
1 hit on the second week advertising (as with Slumdog Millionaire. distributors quite often open on other days or . the sales team negotiates a confidential license agreement bilaterally with each exhibitor interested in playing the film. you can keep track of the top films at the UK box-office every week via FDA’s website. Although films conventionally start in UK cinemas on Fridays./*'012'34/. www. the film may continue to play if it is drawing a significant audience. Distributors may flash UK’s no. Under English law./*'012'34/. For each film. most 35mm prints are destroyed under supervised conditions.-. with the other four weekdays accounting for 8– 10% each. Its first weekend in cinemas is crucial to further progress. the data on the disks are ingested on to a server or hard drive. protocols adopted across the industry ensure that all prints are kept safe throughout the theatrical run."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. which is connected to a digital projector (completely different from a 35mm projector). At the laboratories that duplicate the 35mm film prints. The reels are physically joined together and laced on to the projector. On arrival at the cinema. Monday is traditionally the least busy day.!"#!$%&'()*+'. as we have previously noted. early in 2009) or add US no. For digitally equipped screens. Ultimately. above. often rapidly. while digital disks can be reused. so the time available for print duplication and transportation gets tighter. No second chances A film can only be launched once. by mutual agreement. the maximum booking period for a new release is two weeks. after which.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. Pathé The distributor’s sales and marketing strategies go hand in glove. Courtesy of Nielsen EDI. with the film’s target audience kept front of mind.-. But such plans are necessarily flexible: better than expected box-office may lead to quick investment in some extra prints or advertising. the cans containing the reels that form the 35mm print are unsealed.launchingfilms. A print is usually archived for future generations.1 smash to capitalise on a top opening in America. with as much material as possible recycled. Distribution plans usually assume that the revenues and number of screens on which a film plays will decline.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'5= Print management – digital and 35mm Distributors’ print managers arrange for a print(s) to be despatched to each cinema playing the film. It’s not unusual for a film to generate 30% or more of its entire box-office during the first three days of release! After their final playdate. which normally draws by far the largest audience of any weekend in the theatrical run. just a few days before first playdate. strict quality control procedures are applied and the colour specifications are rigorously checked to match the filmmakers’ intentions. Security 25 Almost two-thirds of cinema visits take place over the weekend (Friday–Sunday). The distributor’s marketing effort builds up to the opening weekend. As films are ‘locked’ (completed and signed off) ever closer to their release dates. and elsewhere. the film prints are returned or taken securely to another cinema.com. as competing titles are launched in successive weeks.
The percentage each party takes varies film by film and week by week. a share traditionally known as the distributor’s ‘rentals’. rather than being sold outright as with most packaged or manufactured goods. the distributor may simply retain a distribution fee. Revenue from ticket sales is normally shared between the distributor and exhibitor – after the VAT has been deducted and paid by the exhibitor. Any outstanding balance is shared with the producers according to a pre-agreed formula set out in the distribution contract. . The weather can also be a factor: for example. Box-office returns Since every film is its creators’ intellectual property. UK distributors receive 25–40% of the gross.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5%''>*B-'5C run previews the weekend before. with all net proceeds remitted to the producers. indicating to its distributor how many tickets were sold (on the day or pre-booked) and at what price. new releases may face competition from a major sports event such as the World Cup or Olympics. Cinema ticket prices are always set by the individual exhibitor. Distributors do not participate in the exhibitor revenue from advance booking fees or the drinks. as well as other films. unseasonably hot temperatures. the distributor aims to recoup any minimum guarantee plus the P&A costs incurred in releasing the film. But the sums that distributors earn are substantially less than these figures. Generally.!"#!$%&'()*+'."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. confectionery and popcorn sold in cinema bars and foyers. Alternatively. Exceptionally. the exhibitors.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. Exhibitors complete a weekly return for each title. 26 Licensing films to exhibitors continued FDA Streets ahead: Outdoor advertising takes many forms. including these illuminated bus shelter panels well used by film distributors (in this case simultaneously for fantasy/action sequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and family adventure. Box-office takings – the gross receipts – are often reported in the press. The Secret of Moonacre). Campaigns may be booked nationally or regionally to reach large audiences in town centres. the prints or disks are rented to.-. or in any proceeds from screen advertising. which entice people outdoors.-. shopping malls and by busy roadsides throughout the UK./*'012'34/./*'012'34/. Out of the net share. can affect any title’s commercial destiny from day to day. or hired under license by.
Optimum • any previews planned for the coming weekend. with only those ranked at or near the top likely to retain screens 27 Sustaining a release and keeping it on screens week by week is one of the key challenges in today’s fastchurning market. Having worked with many distribution teams.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'5& The hold-over challenge On Monday mornings. A vital fixture in the working week. the distributor’s sales team discusses with each exhibitor the hold-over of any current release for a further week from Friday (four days later). Armando Iannucci’s satirical comedy In the Loop. after the weekend box-office takings are collated.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. intensifying the competition for the available screens • the screen average (the average box-office gross receipts per screen) of every film on current release. and John Crowley’s drama Is Anybody There? in which Sir Michael Caine’s leading performance was a tour de force. who can devise effective campaigns that inspire people to see a particular new release. distinguishing it memorably from the pack. Films can be years in the planning and production phases – and then sometimes barely a few weeks on cinema screens./*'012'34/. Likewise the skilled media and publicity planners. bilateral negotiations take into account: • the new releases coming into the market (typically nine or ten each week) Tim Bevan CBE Optimum Metrodome We filmmakers rely greatly on our professional distribution colleagues to navigate the most advantageous path for our products into and through the brutally competitive market place. The star attended the film’s West End premiere in April 2009 and gave many interviews to promote the release. .-.!"#!$%&'()*+'./*'012'34/."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. these flexible.-. A trio of British films showcasing the UK as a diverse creative hub: Eran Creevy’s debut feature Shifty. I’ve long admired the brilliant designers who can condense a feature film into a single poster image.
Even the US studios may share the costs of a big production or split the distribution rights between say the US/Canada (domestic) and the rest of the 28 The wider picture Worldwide web: The story of a powerful financial institution embroiled in global arms dealing.!"#!$%&'()*+'. then roll out gradually in other countries. other releases are handled by the same company via its network of offices worldwide. The International was an energetic thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Milan and Berlin.-. films would open first in US cinemas. in an effort to combat intellectual property theft and to capitalise on global publicity.-. The UK is an important hub for both production and consumption./*'012'34/. For local distributors. Shot on locations including New York."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. Some films are licensed piecemeal. Evolving distribution patterns Traditionally. the film was launched with a packed press conference at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. attended by a panel of cast and crew members./*'012'34/. Cinemagoing has proven to be resilient during times of economic downturn. Istanbul. the gap between the US and Sony Most films nowadays secure their production finance from more than one source. dubbing or subtitling may be an additional release cost.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. Today. world (international).-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'5$ The global filmed entertainment business has annual revenues of approximately $70 billion. with compound annual growth forecast at up to 6%. territory by territory. .
But films are especially vulnerable to illegal copying during the early or pre-release stages of their existence. the theatrical market alone pumps around £2. cinemas in the Republic of Ireland yield annual box-office takings equivalent to about £90m.-.org. cinemagoing has been positively affected by new media formats coming on stream. Thank you. FDA has partnered with Crimestoppers. Most films that succeed theatrically go on to do well throughout their release cycle – the relationship is symbiotic. Indeed. may perform better – relatively – in the home entertainment sector than in cinemas. and may need to be positioned and marketed differently. download. such releases represent huge logistical and technical exercises for the distributors involved. When you factor in the extra amounts consumers spend during a cinema visit on food./*'012'34/. Economic multiplier effect With box-office ticket sales currently worth around £850m a year. and pirated copies may be disseminated very quickly online and on DVD. especially in the action or horror genres. more and more films open practically ‘day and date’ (simultaneously) in many parts of the world.1 cinema market in Europe and the third most valuable in the world after the US/Canada and Japan. The performance of British films here in their local market can have a significant influence on the attention they receive and their commercial prospects overseas. the audiences complementary./*'012'34/. Distributors’ expert knowledge of local tastes. feeds organised crime networks to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. cinema revenues constitute a minority of the total a film can earn. travel and other items. Notwithstanding the haemorrhage from film theft. 29 . of great concern to the entertainment industry. Distributors take steps to protect the security and integrity of the properties they are releasing. Some titles.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@=B''>*C-'5" international releases is shrinking.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Asian and African markets continue to develop.anonymously . You can report local film piracy activity . pay-per-view. terrestrial television. and can reduce local jobs and future investment."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. In addition to the UK. It’s now common for films to earn more internationally than domestically. With a title’s profile and stature established.either by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the website www. when overall DVD/Blu-Ray revenue is also taken into account. a trend that will endure as many European. cultural sensitivities and market conditions guides a film through its openings around the world. Blockbuster status conventionally applies to the minority of films that gross more than $100m in US cinemas. Nevertheless. the UK rises to become the world’s no. cheats consumers of the full viewing experience. FDA tracks the wider impact of theatrical distribution year by year. With master prints arriving in each country ever closer to launch date. substantial income may be derived from the subsequent licenses – DVD/Blu-Ray. the independent charity that helps to solve crime. the UK is the no.crimestoppers-uk.5 billion a year into the UK economy. One distributor may succeed with a film that loses money for another distributor in another territory. drink.-. releases that perform well in one country’s cinemas will not necessarily do well in all countries. video on demand. 2 market for film. although today’s biggest openers can pass that figure in their first week. Indeed. Intellectual property theft. Cinema release boosts subsequent prospects Although most films do not recover their production and launch costs from the theatrical release alone.
-.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'%! A challenging career releasing films in a fast-moving market place – how does that grab you? 30 Working in film distribution ./*'012'34/.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-./*'012'34/."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.!"#!$%&'()*+'.
-. But for film distributors. Only about 300 people work in UK theatrical distribution – less than 1% of the film /cinema industry’s total workforce – although people working in advertising / media buying. A film distributor’s managing director normally supervises a small staff with specialist roles: • Marketing • Publicity • Sales • Technical • Acquisitions & legal • Finance & accounting • Administration In some ways."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'%6 The film distribution sector is small. This isn’t merely paying lip service to diversity. Sabir Khan’s film stars Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. Film distributors strive to recruit from as wide a talent pool as practical so that their companies remain competitive in the future. considering suitable candidates with various perspectives and backgrounds helps distributors to remain lively hubs of fresh ideas. emotionally charged. Each one is read carefully.!"#!$%&'()*+'. profile and influence of its output. As opportunities arise. or by project-managing in another area of intellectual property. these departments undertake activities similar to their demand-side counterparts in any industry. and to appreciate people’s differences as well as their similarities – it’s essential.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. either because the project is being considered for acquisition or because the film is already in production and a release campaign is being prepared. and features US stars including Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards. technologically advanced and hotly anticipated anywhere! Bollywood disarms Hollywood: Kambakkht Ishq (Incredible Love) tells of an Indian stuntman who makes it big in the States but still can’t find true love.-. Good experience for a film industry marketing position may be gained at an advertising or media planning agency. Being able to appreciate and evaluate a script is an important skill – read widely among different writers and genres to get into practice./*'012'34/. the products they handle are among the most thrillingly creative./*'012'34/. PR and design agencies often collaborate on the planning and execution of film campaigns. it’s fundamentally good for business. Sharpen your skills Distributors’ offices often have stacks of film scripts. considering the scale. As a 31 . It’s not just desirable for distributors to stay in tune with audiences’ tastes and wider culture and society. Eros Diversity – good for business The UK today is made up of many communities. especially by working with a film or entertainment client.
and laboratory processes. Lots of ideas and sound judgement are called for when developing both the creative and media elements of a film campaign. such as credits. and arranging for materials to be delivered to the right place at the right time.-. He starred in. an art form in themselves. Key administrative roles include invoicing exhibitors or paying suppliers. Its release clocked up another big hit. Million Dollar Baby and Changeling. But you’re unlikely ever to have a completely free hand – depending on the film stars. Looking forward. that must be included in a particular order or style."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. ordering and checking film prints. If you’re working on the technical or operational aspects of a release./*'012'34/. grossing around $250m in cinemas worldwide. there may be tight guidelines as to what can and can’t be done. Awareness of today’s evolving media landscape is crucial. You must be well organised with lots of drive and stamina. and external agencies may be appointed to handle a particular project. you’d be expected to be alert to opportunities and to justify your ideas to colleagues and those involved in the film’s production. a war veteran. use various strategies depending on the film and the agreed scale of its release. ability to get on with a range of customers are vital attributes.!"#!$%&'()*+'. and there is sure to be a list of elements. No two days are ever the same. Sales staff. and decisions are carefully evaluated. 3D and IMAX® presentation. named after the prized Ford car that his character. why not consider movie posters. 32 Working in film distribution continued Making our day: World renowned as an icon of the cinema. you’ll need current knowledge of digital formats. maintained. . Clear commercial instincts. Warner Bros. Clint Eastwood has enjoyed a surge of popularity and acclaim with recent films such as Mystic River./*'012'34/.-. absolute discretion and the If you’re into design. servers and their storage capacities. Sometimes distributors need specialist public relations or event management expertise to help arrange a premiere or a junket. and to remain cool under pressure.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'%5 marketing team member. For publicity. his next movie behind the cameras is The Human Factor starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. trailers and posters. cool negotiation skills. co-produced and directed the gripping Gran Torino. experience as a journalist or press officer is useful. but you should be able to write succinctly yet imaginatively. who deal with the licensing of films to exhibitors.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. It’s very important that films are supplied for public exhibition in superlative quality.
Inevitably. UK cinema audiences are receptive to compelling. competition to break into the film industry is fierce. A little relevant experience can count for a lot. and funding the Screen Academy Network and new entrants’ schemes. FDA supports distributors by commissioning short courses in the business of film and. You can access its careers advice service at www. training in script reading/analysis too. well-told stories from anywhere in the world. In due course. Being passionate about films is a great start. Artificial Eye Momentum The distribution business offers relentless yet rewarding work and sheer tenacity is an important quality in itself. Once you’re in and have shown your aptitude."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. 33 Top form: Two of the many award-winning films that played in UK cinemas in 2009 were Laurent Cantet’s The Class.scriptfactory.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@=%''>*B-'%% Getting started As you would expect. Some distributors employ runners and holiday relief to help out. vacancies in a small sector like distribution are relatively few and far between.launchingfilms. Visit www. Both these films (above) were promoted principally as great drama. and both scored rave reviews.skillset./*'012'34/. as the vital blueprint for a movie is its screenplay.!"#!$%&'()*+'. Best of luck. keep at it! Note how and where different genres of films are advertised. and Tomas Alfredson’s dark fantasy Let the Right One In. you may find that training courses are offered to help refine your knowledge and skills.org/film. their foreign nationality incidental.-.skillset./*'012'34/. They make training and development accessible and affordable for people in the industry by providing bursaries. subsidies and guidance.org/careers. and on which local screens they tend to play.com. It may also help to keep an eye on publications where media jobs and placements are advertised. Skillset’s aim is to ensure the UK film industry has the right people with the right skills at the right time. while from time to time others offer work placements. Try to keep informed about media trends and developments as well as the films themselves. .co. set in modern-day Paris. A digest of placement opportunities is posted at FDA’s website.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. If you’re really determined. As the huge success of Slumdog Millionaire showed.uk.-. opportunities may arise to work in head offices or overseas affiliates. www. But it is only a start and not enough on its own. Discover more at www.
available online (www./*'012'34/.!"#!$%&'()*+'./*'012'34/. in the form of central schedules of preview screenings for critics and others. the Alliance Against IP Theft and the Industry Trust for IP Awareness.-.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'%B FDA’s mission We maintain frequent contact with our membership via e-bulletins. On their behalf. We’re also a member of other bodies such as AIM (All Industry Marketing for Cinema). We also publish a quarterly preview magazine called Focus. We are proud to be a sponsor of the UK’s National Film & Television School. whose graduates join the next generation of filmmakers. energising role in industry development What we do Under FDA’s auspices.-. As a trade association not an operating distributor. and to play a facilitating. sector training and ‘one voice’ representations where appropriate.focusonmovies. FDA itself is a small company in the member service business. the International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations (FIAD) and the European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF). • To provide generic services that enhance the capacity of our member companies and other contacts to manage their individual working lives better • To be a credit to UK film distributors and a valuable resource to the media. We produce a yearbook. the British Screen Advisory Council (BSAC). Actively engaged in the fight against film theft. some ‘best practice’ guidelines and compilation trailers promoting the new season’s line-up in cinemas. we are represented on the boards of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). we fulfil a busy work programme including audience research.uk) and in print.co. . senior representatives of our member companies meet to discuss matters of generic (non-commercial) interest to the sector and the industry as a whole. 34 About Film Distributors' Association FDA is the long-standing trade body for UK theatrical distributors. FDA also prepares editorial planning tools for media.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':. Films released by our member companies account for 96% of UK cinema admissions."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.
uk www.co.skillset.uk www.!"#!$%&'()*+'.uk Federation Against Copyright Theft: www./*'012'34/.bva.vervepics.ukfilmcouncil.com Alliance Against IP Theft: www.uk Film Education www.parkcircus.co.uk.sonypictures.co.-.warnerbros.co.uk British Film Institute: www.-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.uk www.-.adlabsfilms.com Cinema Exhibitors’ Association: www.com www./*'012'34/.com www.org.bfi. depending on your particular area of interest: Many more links are available from FDA’s website.org.universalpictures.co.uk Skillset: www.bsac.dogwoof.cinemauk.yourlocalcinema.uk British Board of Film Classification: www.paramountpictures.uk British Screen Advisory Council: www.org.org UK Film Council: www.fox.uk www.co.co.revolvergroup.org.com www.launchingfilms.com www.com www.co.com www.sodapictures.fact-uk.org Industry Trust for IP Awareness: www.-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'%= FDA members www.e1entertainmentuk.co.co.uk Accessible cinema: www.uk www.theworksmediagroup.com www.entertainmentfilms.uk Here are a few other UK film industry websites you may like to explore. www.com 35 FDA Cinema Days: www.org.uk www.co.uk www.co."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'.uk www.filmeducation.optimumreleasing.cinemadays.uk www.com www.uk British Federation of Film Societies: www.com www.allianceagainstiptheft.artificial-eye.momentumpictures.bbfc.uk www.metrodomegroup.com www.co.thefilmfactory.bffs.erosentertainment.copyrightaware.com .pathe.org.com www.iconmovies.com British Video Association: www.
a bank of industry data..-'7897''65A=A!"''66@5B''>*C-'%D In the course of our work. You’ll find a weekly film release schedule.net or write to us: Film Distributors’ Association Ltd. To keep in touch with the fast-evolving world of UK film distribution."<'2='>238?@!"#!$%&'()*+'. visit FDA’s website. We welcome any approach where UK film distributors’ generic interests are concerned.tv FDA .-'5!!"#5!6!'7897':.-. a gateway of links and much more./*'012'34/. 36 Contact FDA Get the insiders’ views of the film business You can explore UK film distribution further.www. at our dedicated microsite: www.!"#!$%&'()*+'. and watch some people who work in the business talk about their roles./*'012'34/.launchingfilms. FDA liaises with many different people and organisations.launchingfilms.com. London W1F 9JW We aim to respond appropriately within three working days of receiving your enquiry. 22 Golden Square.uk.-. please email info@fda. With general enquiries or comments on this guide.
''66CE&''?*F-'5 © 2009 Film Distributors’ Association Ltd. Designed and printed in England for Film Distributors’ Association by Wham Media Ltd www.whammedia.uk . which supersedes all previous editions. FDA thanks all contributors to this revised and updated edition of the Guide. No unauthorised copying: No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express prior permission of FDA. Information correct at time of going to press but subject to change.co.
-'789:./*'012'34/.<'=9">'?23@A2B:1C!"#!$%&'()*+'.-.-'5!!"#5!6!'789:.launchingfilms.!"#!$%&'()*+'.''65DED!"''66CE&''?*F-'6 | film distributors’ association | 22 golden square | london | w1f 9jw | | eMail: info@fda.-./*'012'34/.uk.com .net | tel: +44 (0) 20 7437 4383 | fax: +44 (0) 20 7734 0912 | www.
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