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TOPIC: what are the distribs thinking?

what are the distribs thinking? 04 Oct 2013 13:57 #40322

  • Mike
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I don't get it. Self financed and no VPF. Why would the film companies NOT give you a print of Gravity ro Captain Phillips? What's in it for them to give less prints when people want to see these things. I could see it when they had a 35 mm print's cost in the game but now all they have in it is a returnable hard drive. It actually looks like they're using the film's popularity to put theatres out of business. What do you think?
Michael Hurley
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what are the distribs thinking? 04 Oct 2013 14:59 #40323

  • Adam Fraser
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The only thing I could think of would be trying to keep the per theatre average up. We also are self financed with no VPF. I agree there may be more going on with limiting digital print runs than we are being told. If you are worried that you won't recoup your investment in making a hard drive and issuing a key, just make smaller theatres pay a $500 guarantee.
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what are the distribs thinking? 05 Oct 2013 16:35 #40324

  • leeler
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this kind of thing drives us nuts. We have a VPF but that really should be no different then back when they were making 35MM prints, just the name on the check is different. We were shut out of Rush for that reason and now (since we made the cut for Gravity and Captain Phillips) we don't have room to bring in Rush after the break. So I have been advertising a movie for weeks that I no longer can show. Thank goodness I'm not in a competitive market or I would have been basically advertising for another theater!
"What a crazy business"
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what are the distribs thinking? 05 Oct 2013 18:53 #40325

  • slapintheface
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They seem to care only about per screen averages lately ..
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what are the distribs thinking? 05 Oct 2013 22:34 #40326

  • lionheart
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What advantage is it to a distributor to get their per screen average up versus getting total revenue up?
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what are the distribs thinking? 06 Oct 2013 17:32 #40327

  • leeler
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does this have to do with the other side of the coin? Financing a movie with a production company?

"Yes, I know movie X only grossed $14 Million dollars but the per screen average was $25K per screen!"

Or does this have to do with ancillary revenue such as DVD sales and VOD?
"What a crazy business"
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what are the distribs thinking? 06 Oct 2013 18:00 #40328

  • rufusjack
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leeler wrote:
does this have to do with the other side of the coin? Financing a movie with a production company?

"Yes, I know movie X only grossed $14 Million dollars but the per screen average was $25K per screen!"

Or does this have to do with ancillary revenue such as DVD sales and VOD?

Leeler, In the 20+ years that I have spent in the Home Video business I never saw a ad promoting a per screen average. Pretty much the total box office was the promoted fact. And the higher the box office the higher the buy from the store.

Just one of those things that does not make sense.

Anyone who was denied and no VPF, did you offer a guarantee? How often have you grossed less than $1000 on a movie?
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what are the distribs thinking? 06 Oct 2013 22:01 #40329

  • leeler
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well, how about this. Say you wanted some way to objectively measure the popularity of your movie without using ticket grosses in order to sell the rights of home video sales to some other company? Or to sell the rights to a cable company (HBO or Showtime)? Or to help set your price point for video sales (19.99 vs 14.99 DVDs). That sort of makes sense but it still seems like a distributor would be leaving money on the table in the movie's theatrical run. That just doesn't sound like the movie studios I know! This is a very interesting discussion and I hope we can solve this one at least to our satisfaction, but I'm still stumped.
"What a crazy business"
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what are the distribs thinking? 07 Oct 2013 05:08 #40330

  • Keweler
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How about revenue management as a theory? The theaters that are higher on the release list are most likely theaters that charge more. If mike doesn't get the movie ,a percentage of his customers will go the higher prized competition.if the difference in money earned because of that is higher than the money lost to costumers that won,t see the movie at all (would have gone to mike but won't once he shows it in 3 weeks), you make more money. Just a theory.....
Jay
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what are the distribs thinking? 07 Oct 2013 15:32 #40331

  • slapintheface
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If you are in a competative market ( and playing first run )
No way should you be less than . 50 cents less than your clearance
Theatre ..
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what are the distribs thinking? 07 Oct 2013 17:40 #40332

  • lionheart
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I did a slight bit of reading on per-screen-average and one article said that this measurement is important when using a platform release strategy. That is normally more common with indie and art house movies. The idea is to build word of mouth and improve performance as time passes. I don't see that applying to something like Gravity. Does the distributor honestly believe they will make more money in smaller markets by waiting? If the terms are aggregate and don't go lower over the first weeks of release, then there might be a chance to get more money from word of mouth that way, but I tend to think that it's more likely that interest in a movie will cool down as time passes. I think trying to build legs for something that opens with a $55mil weekend is going to be hard. Everybody and their dog who has an interest in this one is going to want to see it in the first few weeks.
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what are the distribs thinking? 08 Oct 2013 14:41 #40334

  • Mike
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Since I posted this question I've made an effort to talk to many in the know or many who have an opion...

1. "per screen average" matters a great deal to filmmakers who can point to it as a indicator for their investors, backers, and for future deals. Smaller theatres lower the per screen average and water down that number.
2. vpf or no vpf they generally say they do not care and that if say they were at 3000 prints and then took all the non VPF houses just imagine how the VPF houses not included would react: angrily to say the least. Can you imagine if you asked "I out gross so and so... why did they get a print and I did not?" ,,,,, "Oh well... they don't have a VPF." Cue to theatre owners head exploding and shooting 5000' into the air.
3. I still don't get it. How does it help them not to add 1000 more screens and gross anther couple or more million on a week? It doesn't. They are leaving money on the table and denying us money at the same time.
4. film distribs say, numerous discussions with everything from the numbest Sargent Klink responses... I know nothing!... to... this very subject has come up repeatedly at sales meetings: why can't we take smaller houses now that the print cost isn't a factor? And many have been told "you can." So it's fluid and changing.

so... it sucks, it is stupid, it does not make sense, and they're thinking about it. Meanwhile we suffer and they go to lunch....
Michael Hurley
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what are the distribs thinking? 08 Oct 2013 15:19 #40337

  • slapintheface
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Vpf is the kiss of death for many small Theatres
Lease with option or self finance is the way to go !
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what are the distribs thinking? 08 Oct 2013 17:04 #40338

  • lionheart
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If I was an investor, I wouldn't be as concerned with per-screen-average as I would be with return on investment (ROI). Ultimately, how much money am I going to make? The rest is just blah, blah, blah. What did you say? Oh, I'm getting paid X number of dollars? Good. I'll take my check now.
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what are the distribs thinking? 18 Oct 2013 16:47 #40366

  • Mike
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if we do not have it very few will drive the distance to a theatre that has a film/ they'll just skip it and go to a movie that is playing or wait for it or just never see it. So there is no calculation being made about driving revenue to higher charging theatres. I'm not sure there is much thought here... it's almost like they're stuck in a 35 mm print think.
Michael Hurley
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Last Edit: 18 Oct 2013 16:49 by Mike.
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