Film distributor

film distributor is responsible for the marketing of a film. The distribution company is usually different from the production company . Distribution deals are an important part of financing a film.

The distributor may set the release date of a film and the method by which a film is to be exhibited or made available for viewing; for example, directly to the public or theatrically or for home viewing ( DVD , video-on-demand , download , television programs through broadcast syndication, etc.). A distributor may do this directly, if the distributor owns the theaters or film distribution networks, or through theatrical exhibitors and other sub-distributors. Such as DVDs or Blu-ray, or may act in a particular country or market. The primary distributor will receive the filmcredits , one sheet or other marketing material.

Theatrical distribution

If a distributor is working with a theatrical exhibitor, the distributor secures a written contract stipulating the amount of the gross sales ticket the exhibitor will be allowed to retain (usually a percentage of the gross). The distributor collects the amounts due, the auditoritor ‘s ticket, the sales representative, and the distributor of the company. to any other [intermediary], such as a movie release agent).

The distributor must aussi Ensure That enough movie prints are struck to serve all contracted EXHIBITORS on the contract-based opening day , Ensure Their physical delivery to the theater by the opening day, monitor EXHIBITORS to sour make the movie is in fact shown in the Particular theater with the minimum number of seats and show times, and ensure the prints’ return to the distributor’s office or other storage resource on the contract-based return date. In practical terms, this includes the physical manufacture of release prints and Their shipping around the world (a process being white That Is Replaced by digital distribution in MOST Developed Markets) as well as the establishment of posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements , commercial television , trailers, and other types of ads.

The distributor is also responsible for ensuring a full line of advertising is available for each film which it believes will help the exhibitor attract the largest possible audience, create such advertising if it is not provided by the production company, and arrange for the physical delivery of the advertising items selected by the exhibitor at intervals prior to the opening day. Film distributors spend between $ 3.5 billion and $ 4.0 billion a year in the United States alone on TV commercials, billboards, online banner ads, radio commercials and the like. [1] That distributor-distributor does not include additional costs for advertising, movie trailers and promotions, which are not classified as advertising market audiences.

Distributors typically enter into one of the two types of film booking contracts. The most common is the aggregate deal where the total sales volume is divided by a pre-determined mutually-agreed price between distributor and movie theater. The other method is the sliding scale deal, where the percentage of box office revenue taken by theaters declines each week of a given film’s run. [2] The sliding scale actually has a minimum amount of money which is often called “the house nut” -after which the sliding scale kicks in for revenue generated above the house nut. However, this sliding scale method is falling out of use. Whatever the method, box office is usually shared 50/50 between film distributors and theaters.

International distribution

If the distributor is handling a foreign film , it may also be responsible for securing dubbing or subtitling for the film, and securing censorshipor other legal or organizational “approval” for the exhibition of the film in the country / territory in which it does business. Depending on which studio is distributing the film, the studio will either have offices around the world, by themselves or partnered with another studio, to distribute films in other countries. If a studio decides to partner with a native distributor, upon release both names will appear. The foreign distributor may license the film for a certain amount of time, but the studio will retain the copyright of the film. [3]

Early distribution windows

Although there are many technical distribution, in the past the studios and networks were slow to change and did not experiment with different distribution processes. Studios believed that new distribution methods would cause their old methods of revenue to be destroyed. With time, the development of new distribution The studios came back from myriad distribution windows. These windows created many opportunities in the industry. These new distribution methods benefited audiences that were generally too small to reach and expanded the content of television. With the new age of technology, the networks accepted the fact that it was a consumer of the industry and accepted the new models of distribution. [4]

Non-theatrical distribution

This term, used mainly in the British film industry , describes the distribution of feature films for screening audiences, but not in the audience. The defining distinctions between a theatrical and a non-theatrical screening are that the latter has a closed audience in some way, eg pupils of a school, members of a social club or passengers on an airline, and that there can be no individual admission charge. Most non-theatrical screening contracts also specify that the screening should not be advertised, except in the group that is eligible to attend (eg in a membership organization’s newsletter or an in-flight magazine ).

Non-theatrical distribution includes the airlines and film societies . Non-theatrical distribution is the only company in the market, of which Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) and Filmbankmedia are the two largest:

Motion Picture Licensing Company Filmbankmedia

Representing the major Hollywood studios and independent producers. Home video is sold with a license that permits viewing in the home only. Until these technologies were widespread, most non-theatrical screenings were 16mm film prints supplied by the distributor. Today, the most common business model is a distributor of the film. These licenses are available for one-off screenings, or The latter are being bought by pubs and students’ unions, to enable them to show occasional feature films on TV in their bars.

Home video distribution

Some distributors only handle home video distribution or some sub-set of home video distribution such as DVD or Blu-ray distribution. The remaining homeowners may be licensed or licensed to other distributors.

If a distributor is going to distribute a movie on a physical format such as a DVD, they must arrange for the creation of the artwork for the case and the face of the DVD and arrange a DVD replicator the DVD.

Some movie producers use a process called “DVD-on-demand.” In DVD-on-demand, a company will burn a DVD-R (a process called “duplication”) when a copy of the DVD is ordered, and then ships to the customer.

A distributor may also maintain contact with wholesalers who sell and ship DVDs to retail outlets and sell them to DVDs. The distributor may also place ads in magazines and send copies of the DVD to reviewers.

Distribution credits

The primary distribution companies will usually receive some billing for the movie. For example, Gone With the Wind was shown on the one sheet “A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Release”. A modern example, Jurassic Park , would be the credit ” Universal Pictures presents …”. The Universal production logo also opened the movie’s trailer . In some cases, there is split distribution in the box of Titanic (1997) : ” 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures present …”. Both companies helped to finance the film.

See also

  • Bel Air Circuit
  • List of film distributors by country


  1. Jump up^ Article on Kantar Media movie advertising estimates
  2. Jump up^ Marich, Robert. Marketing To Moviegoers: Third Edition(2013), SIU Press, p.277-78
  3. Jump up^ Levison, Louise. (2007) “FILMMAKERS AND FINANCING”. Burlington, MA: Focal Press. p. 119-120
  4. Jump up^ Lotz, Amanda. The Television Will Be Revolutionized