Film distribution in the uk
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Film Distribution In the uk. By Robbie Marshall-Andrews. What is distribution?.

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Film Distribution In the uk

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Film distribution in the uk

Film Distribution In the uk

By Robbie Marshall-Andrews


What is distribution

What is distribution?

  • Distribution, the third part of the film supply chain, is often referred to as 'the invisible art', a process known only to those within the industry, barely written about and almost imperceptible to everyone else.

  • Yet arguably, distribution is the most important part of the film industry, where completed films are brought to life and connected with an audience.

  • So what is involved in this invisible process? Distribution is about releasing and sustaining films in the market place. In the practice of Hollywood and other forms of industrial cinema, the phases of production, distribution and exhibition operate most effectively when 'vertically integrated', where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company. In the UK, distribution is very much focused on marketing and sustaining a global product in local markets.


Who are the distributors

Who are the distributors?

  • It is the job of distributors in the UK to identify and deliver the largest possible audience for every film. This is no small task, particularly when so many other entertainment options are available inside and outside of the home. And that’s in addition to the 500 or more titles released in UK cinemas every year.

  • There are 4 main stages to film distribution:

  • Firstly the Film Distributors would go to as many cinemas as possible to get them to screen their film, the more cinemas that agree to do so the more profit. So the first stage of Film Distribution is the cinema (theatrical) release. The amount of weeks the film stays showing is as long as it is still profitable for the cinema.

  • The second stage is the rental release, this is roughly 3 months after the cinema stops screening the film however that time is shortening over the recent years.


Film distribution in the uk

  • 3. Roughly a month after the rental release (when the other two stages have been as profitable as possible) there is the purchase release. There is this month in between to encourage people to go out and rent the film first and then if they like it they are much more likely to go out and buy the actual film when it comes out.

  • 4. The last part of Film Distribution is the TV release. This happens roughly a year after the purchase release but can also be viewed on websites such as Netflix and Lovefilm. If a particular film has done very well in the box office and has also sold many copies on DVD and has overall being successful this means that more money is possible on the TV release as the TV companies can charge the advertisers more money to show their adverts as more people will be watching.


Examples of distributors

Examples of distributors

  • Examples of Film Distributors include:

  • Warner Bros

  • 20th Century Fox

  • Paramount pictures/Universal Studios

  • Film 4


Examples of distributors1

Examples of Distributors

  • DNA films are another example of a film distribution company, founded by Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew Macdonald. The company is situated in London. They are quite a small and unknown company, distributing their first film ‘Kansas in August’ in 1999. They have distributed some fairly successful films in the past decade such as 28 days later and Love Actually. DNA films have a distribution contract with a company called Fox Searchlight (an auxiliary of 20th Century Fox) which focuses on independent, British films. This is agreement between two companies is called a Synergy, which means they both benefit from helping each other out. This company was extremely successful with the 28 days/weeks later franchise. ‘28 days later had a budget of 5 million pounds to make, and grossed in at 50 million pounds which is obviously a huge difference. This goes to show that small distribution companies like this can be just as successful, in the ratio of budget to profit, to larger film distribution companies.


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