Film Distribution

Created on : October 25, 2023 13:39 | Last updated on : January 18, 2024 13:00


Film distribution is the process of making a film available for audience viewing. This means having a film be purchased or rented by a distribution company, which will then take the steps of marketing and displaying the film.


The process of releasing a film for public viewing is known as film distribution, often referred to as film exhibition. This is the responsibility of a qualified film distributor, who will also decide on the film marketing and release plan, the media that will be used for distribution, and other issues.

At first, every feature film that was mass-marketed was intended to be seen in cinemas. There is disagreement about which theater opened exclusively for Motion Pictures; contenders include Pittsburgh's Nickelodeon, which opened in 1905, and Los Angeles' Tally's Electric Theatre, which opened in 1902. In a few years, thousands of these theaters were constructed or converted from pre-existing buildings.

But the deluge of heavily promoted films these days guarantees that most films get seen in first-run theaters for fewer than eight weeks. Every year, a few films manage to break this trend; they are usually limited-release films that open in a small number of theaters before expanding due to positive reviews and word-of-mouth. ABN AMRO conducted research in 2000 that found that 26% of Hollywood movie studios' global revenue comes from box office ticket sales, 46% from consumer sales of VHS and DVDs, and 28% from television.

Types of Film Distribution

Film release in the pre-studio period:

State rights and roadshows were the two primary methods of film distribution until the Motion Picture Patents Company (Edison Trust) collapsed in 1915. Local and territorial sales of films were permitted under the states’ rights regime. Then, to maximize profits, the local seller would screen the movie as often as they could. Film copyright holders would normally charge 10 cents per foot for the rights to sell a film directly to a theater or franchise salesman.
Under the roadshow method, the producer would sign a contract with each theater, giving famous and large-capacity theaters precedence. Tickets would be sold to raise money. A movie's run length would be restricted to increase demand and contribute to the reputation of the work.

Standard release:

In 1979, the typical film distribution procedure in the United States was for a film to be shown in theaters first, followed by a brief run on pay television, and then another theater release. Before being made available for free-to-air television, it later made a comeback on pay television. Now, films are distributed on home video and VOD platforms following its theatrical premiere. It is often made accessible for free-to-air television after an extra length of time and then released for pay television.

Simultaneous Release:

A simultaneous release occurs when films are released simultaneously or with little timing differences, across several media (DVD, VOD, and theaters). The Road to Guantanamo (2006), EMR (2005) by James Erskine & Danny McCullough, and Bubble (2006) by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh are a few notable examples of simultaneous release efforts.

Straight-to-video release:

Releases of movies on home video formats (VHS, DVD, etc.) without first being released in theaters are referred to as straight-to-video releases. It was observed in 2005 that this sector has recently become viable, particularly for small film producers and businesses.

Internet release:

Home (2009), The Cult of Sincerity (2008), Life in a Day (2011), Eyes and Ears of God: Video Surveillance of Sudan (2012), Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007), Schwarz Weiss Bunt (2020) are some of the feature films that have been distributed straight on YouTube or other streaming services.

How to get Film Distribution?

You may increase your chances of receiving film distribution by doing the following:

Prominent Cast:

Have you ever seen a film simply because one of your favorite actors starred in it? We've all been indoctrinated to think that certain performers, filmmakers, and film producers will consistently create work of extraordinary quality. Films featuring well-known actors do well because people trust them with their money.


Whether or not your film is distributed greatly depends on the time of year. In general, horror movies perform better in the fall than they do in the spring. Additionally, winter is a stronger season for Christmas movies than summer is.

Plot Quality:

A weak plot might seriously jeopardize your run. Even if your film has some other compelling aspects to entice viewers to see it in theaters or download it, if the plot fails to hook viewers in, they won't recommend it to their friends—or worse, they won't recommend it at all. Peer pressure and word-of-mouth play a big part in a movie's success.

Target Audience:

Which age group and which demographic does the movie target? Where do they see movies on TV? What kinds of movies do they enjoy watching? Is the movie industry oversaturated in that particular demographic?

Social Media:

Is there a discussion on the movie there? Do the cast members have a large following on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on? Are people looking for interviews and behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube? Are people talking about potential storylines on forums? How many individuals use the internet and have the potential to use it quickly? The degree of social media presence serves as a barometer for the popularity of the film.

Distribution is likely to occur if you can address each of these points. However, there are a few choices available to you if you're an independent filmmaker looking to distribute your feature film.


1 Reviews

Please log in to write a review!