by James Killough
Even if you’re not in the film business, most people are conversant with how hard it is to deal with the studios when making a feature film. Any given episode of Entourage is a slice-of-life peek into the morass of ego and fear and plain bad taste that is the development and production process. But what is seldom examined is the darker corner of the film business, that mysterious tangle of dank, bat-filled caverns behind the studio walls, which has so bewildered so many unsuspecting filmmakers that some have disappeared forever in its mazes. I am, of course, talking about Distribution.
The experience of having a movie released theatrically by a major distributor can sour even the most optimistic producer, who might still be in love with the business despite actually having made it as far as being able to show his oeuvre to the public, which is akin to winning a season of Survivor. The accounting practices are legendary, especially the bit when they offset the losses from another film on the profits of yours if it’s a hit. There are other traps, too, like that guarantee of a healthy market saturation of five hundred screens and a Christmas release, which is suddenly moved to February and dropped to five theaters. What are you going to do? Hire a litigator for a minimum of $50,000 and go through the process of suing a studio? Continue reading