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TOPIC: Distributor ethics??

Distributor ethics?? 25 May 2004 17:14 #24430

  • BurneyFalls
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I got calls from three studio sales people yesterday, not DreamWorks. One just wanted to know if I was playing Shrek. The other two asked outright what my weekend Shrek gross was. I told one, but the other was on my answering machine and I did not call back. He called and left another pleading message on my recorder today. Is this ethical? What is it to them what my gross is? Why should I have to tell them?
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 25 May 2004 17:41 #24431

  • coryray
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I usually give grosses by way of a written BOR and then only to the distrib. I've had calls from Exhibitor Relations, but don't return them. You're right. You shouldn't give that info to anyone except on a need to know basis.

I've had general conversations with distribs about others films, but never to state what the grosses were; had a great weekend; dang slow on this one, things like that.

That kind of fishing could only lead to problems down the road.
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 25 May 2004 17:52 #24432

  • muviebuf
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Unless your contract specifies that you have to supply your gross to (whomever) then that information is confidential and privledged business information. You do not have to give it to anyone

I never give info to such firms Rentrack, EDI or whatever. They never do anything free for me, why should I give them info that they are turning around and selling to someone else????

As far as the other distribs are concerned, it is a judgement call. After all if you are doing really well you would want the other distribs to know so that they will be anxious to want to play you too. Its a judgment call.
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 25 May 2004 22:10 #24433

  • puzzlegut
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We had one of the studios ask us what our grosses were for Shrek for our single-screen, not our four-screen. I thought it was rather odd that the boss of the booker for that studio wanted to know the grosses for a movie that does not belong to them.
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 26 May 2004 11:46 #24434

  • BECKWITH1
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Burney,

Something tells me that your grosses are not available from EDI or Rentrak. My grosses are easily available from there so I don't think that they have to call me but just use their computers. You are more difficult since only the licensed distributor is getting your boxoffice report. Other distributors sometimes want to get a feeling for how well you might gross on their movie by looking at how well you did with a similar movie from another distributor. I know that my booker has occasionally bragged up our numbers on one film to another distributor in making our case for a film that we want.

However, that can also work against us as they can see when we do terribly with a film and then decline to make us a copy of theirs. This is happening in the spring and fall when the distributors are having a tough time justifying the cost of large print run and want to cut prints. It probably doesn't bother you since you will be happier playing off the break in those seasons whereas we can't afford to wait for our competitors to ditch their copy so that we can have it. Usually, we open it or it doesn't run here.

So, I guess that bragging up your good numbers to other distributors might do you some good whereas bad numbers probably won't hurt you. It is still your private information and up to you what you choose to do with it. I get lambasted if I don't report to EDI or Rentrak.
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 26 May 2004 12:26 #24435

  • BurneyFalls
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WB called again today and left their third message requesting my Shrek weekend gross. I just got off the phone with MaryAnn Grasso at NATO and she confirmed that I do not have to tell anyone but the film's distributor what my grosses are.
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 26 May 2004 15:23 #24436

  • rodeojack
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It amazes me that they're so diligent about this. I wonder if it has something to do with how they'll position... or market Harry Potter. Speculation here, but maybe they'd use Shrek numbers to determine how long to force holdovers on Potter. Dunno... this is the first time I've heard of such a thing.

In any case, I'm fairly rabid on the subject. I don't take calls from EDI. Generally speaking, I don't pass information or reports directly to the studios, either... though there are some exceptions. I WANT people who have legitimate reason for my information to get it from my booker... and I usually refer any inquiries to her office whether I have the information close by or not.


Hey, Burneyfalls... are you the one who rebuilt after a fire? If so, there were some great articles about it that made their way clear over here (near Seattle)!
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 27 May 2004 00:54 #24437

  • BurneyFalls
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I am still rebuilding after the fire, but I wouldn't think it made the news anywhere. The fire only did about $30,000 damage and I remained open without interruption. An exterior corner of the building was covered in pretty black and blue tarps for over five months. It was ugly. That part is now repaired and stucco'd, but you can see the repair so I haven't paid the contractor. The storage room upstairs next to the booth has not yet been repaired. For some reason I could again smell the smoke up there today.
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Re: Distributor ethics?? 28 May 2004 21:26 #24438

  • Rialto
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Well again, being an art guy, I'm in the minority around here. We report to Rentrak, EDI and our booker, who reports to the appropriate distrib.

We also use our grosses and length of run as salesmanship to help us real in bigger fish, usually the tweener stuff that isn't true art but isn't commerical crap.

The thing that irritates me is the Friday afternoon tracking phone calls every couple of hours wondering what our gross on a specific film is, but they usually quit tracking at 5:00pm. So our Friday at 7:00pm show doesn't matter??? Weird.
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