How Film Distribution Works

Just how do those movies get from the motion picture studio to the theater? Find out the difference between negotiating and bidding, and finally understand why movie popcorn is so expensive!

Here's the path a film usually takes to get to your local theater:

Someone has an idea for a movie.
They create an outline and use it to promote interest in the idea.
A studio or independent investor decides to purchase rights to the film.
People are brought together to make the film (screenwriter, producer, director, cast, crew).
The film is completed and sent to the studio.
The studio makes a licensing agreement with a distribution company.
The distribution company determines how many copies (prints) of the film to make.
The distribution company shows the movie (screening) to prospective buyers representing the theaters.
The buyers negotiate with the distribution company on which movies they wish to lease and the terms of the lease agreement.
The prints are sent to the theaters a few days before the opening day.
The theater shows the movie for a specified number of weeks (engagement).
You buy a ticket and watch the movie.

At the end of the engagement, the theater sends the print back to the distribution company and makes payment on the lease agreement.


Upcoming Film Grants in your Mailbox

Never miss the opportunity to find funding for your film. Once a month you will receive the upcoming Film Grants via email with lots of time to apply.

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