Distributor – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Film Distribution Glossary Terms

I. What is a Film Distributor?

A film distributor is a company or individual responsible for marketing and releasing films to audiences. They acquire the rights to distribute films from production companies or filmmakers and work to ensure that the films reach their target audience through various channels such as theaters, streaming platforms, and home video releases. Film distributors play a crucial role in the film industry by connecting filmmakers with audiences and helping to generate revenue for the films they distribute.

II. How Do Film Distributors Acquire Rights?

Film distributors acquire the rights to distribute films through various means, including purchasing the rights directly from production companies or filmmakers, entering into licensing agreements, or participating in film festivals and markets where they can negotiate distribution deals. The process of acquiring rights can be competitive, with distributors vying for the opportunity to release films that they believe will be successful with audiences. Once a distributor has acquired the rights to a film, they are responsible for marketing and releasing it to theaters, streaming platforms, or other distribution channels.

III. What is the Role of a Film Distributor?

The role of a film distributor is multifaceted and includes a variety of responsibilities. Some of the key functions of a film distributor include:

1. Marketing: Film distributors are responsible for creating marketing campaigns to promote films to audiences. This may include creating trailers, posters, and other promotional materials, as well as organizing press screenings and other events to generate buzz around the film.

2. Release Strategy: Distributors work to determine the best release strategy for a film, including deciding on the timing and number of theaters for a theatrical release, as well as negotiating deals with streaming platforms for digital releases.

3. Revenue Sharing: Distributors negotiate revenue sharing agreements with theaters, streaming platforms, and other distribution channels to ensure that the film generates revenue for all parties involved.

4. Distribution Logistics: Distributors are responsible for coordinating the physical and digital distribution of films to theaters, streaming platforms, and other outlets. This includes managing delivery schedules, coordinating screenings, and ensuring that the film reaches its intended audience.

IV. How Do Film Distributors Market Films?

Film distributors use a variety of marketing strategies to promote films to audiences. Some common marketing tactics used by distributors include:

1. Trailers: Distributors create trailers to give audiences a preview of the film and generate interest in seeing it. Trailers are often released online and in theaters to reach a wide audience.

2. Posters and Promotional Materials: Distributors create posters, banners, and other promotional materials to raise awareness of the film and attract audiences.

3. Press Screenings and Events: Distributors organize press screenings, premieres, and other events to generate buzz around the film and attract media coverage.

4. Social Media and Digital Marketing: Distributors use social media platforms, online advertising, and other digital marketing strategies to reach audiences and promote the film.

V. What is the Difference Between Theatrical and Digital Distributors?

Theatrical distributors focus on releasing films in theaters, while digital distributors specialize in releasing films on streaming platforms and other digital outlets. Theatrical distributors work with theaters to coordinate screenings, negotiate revenue sharing agreements, and promote films to audiences. Digital distributors work with streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu to release films online and reach audiences who prefer to watch movies at home.

While theatrical distributors focus on the traditional theatrical release model, digital distributors are at the forefront of the changing landscape of film distribution, as more audiences turn to streaming platforms to watch movies. Both types of distributors play a crucial role in connecting filmmakers with audiences and generating revenue for the films they release.

VI. How Do Filmmakers Work with Film Distributors?

Filmmakers work with film distributors by submitting their films for consideration, negotiating distribution deals, and collaborating on marketing and release strategies. Filmmakers often rely on distributors to help them reach a wider audience and generate revenue for their films. Working with a distributor can provide filmmakers with access to distribution channels, marketing expertise, and industry connections that can help their films succeed in the marketplace.

Filmmakers should carefully consider their options when choosing a distributor, taking into account factors such as the distributor’s track record, marketing capabilities, and distribution channels. By working closely with a distributor, filmmakers can maximize the potential of their films and connect with audiences around the world.