Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Distribution Script (full answers to revise from)

The role of the distributor is to think about who the audience is and why they would want to watch the film. They need to do research into the audience to understand their likes and dislikes, pleasures and fears.  They are responsible for buying the rights to a film and distributing it accordingly to various cinemas. They produce a release strategy and marketing strategy to try and make the film sell.

Acquiring the Film, Budget, Target Audience
In the case of Avatar, the film was produced by James Cameron and his company, Lightstorm, however 20th Century Fox have integrated Lightstorm into their company, so to provide funding for production as well as distribution and marketing. This is an excellent example of horizontal and vertical integration, as can be seen by this diagram.
Similarly, The Boat That Rocked was produced by Working Title Films, and so everything during production was horizontally integrated, but they are owned by Universal, so everything else, marketing and distribution etc. were taken care of, so they were vertically integrated.
Because Fox already owned the rights to the film, they didn’t need to actually spend money acquiring it, so they simply spent $350 million marketing the film. The unique selling point of the film was that it was an immersive 3D experience unlike the anything that had come before. The film targeted a very wide audience from the typical family of four to the niche film enthusiast to the avid action lover.
The Boat That Rocked, as we said, was also vertically integrated, and this allowed for a budget of over $47 million which was able to include an ensemble cast which appealed to both the UK and American audiences.  This was also the unique selling point, it had very big names such as Bill Nighy, Nick Frost and Philip Seymour Hoffman; and running on the success of Working Title’s previous films, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually audiences had high expectations of the new film.  The film was aimed at teenagers in Britain, as well as older people wanting to see the film, as it was from the 60’s when they were teenagers.

Release Strategy
Avatar had a very interesting release strategy. The film first premiered in London on the 10th December 2009, before anywhere in the world. It then premiered in North America, in Hollywood on the 16th. Fox decided to distribute the film in this way to shock the world and break the typical convention of releasing a film in Hollywood first. This created hype around the film; it got the world talking.
This set the ball rolling, so that there was so much buzz around the Wednesday 16th premiere, as there had been 6 days build up. After the premiere, there was the Thursday and Friday for the hype to build even more, for the Friday the 18th general release which then smashed the box office.

The Boat That Rocked was first shown in the UK, on the 1st April 2009, however it wasn’t premiered until the 16th of April, over 2 weeks later, at the Copenhagen Film Festival. It was then released to European countries over the next 3 months, and was released last  in the USA on the 12th November 2009, over 7 months after the UK release. Perhaps they first released the film in the UK since it was expected to be most popular amongst this audience, due to it’s cultural and historical context. The following staggered release was implemented to build up to the North American release, as it was expected to do very well with the American audience, due to the success of Notting Hill and Love Actually. This is known as the ‘Multiple Run Release Strategy’, which is aimed at building up word of mouth, which is exactly the case here. Due to a reasonable marketing budget of $30 million the release strategy had to ensure that word of mouth was able to spread sufficiently for the American audience to gain interest, hence the prolonged time period of the release strategy.

Avatar was a much more successful film, partly due to its impressive release strategy which fox spent $350 million on. In comparison, TBTR had a budget of only $30 million, so didn’t reach as wide an audience and didn’t do nearly as well in the box office.

Audience Research and Marketing Budget
Although the method in which Working Title did its audience research in the UK was illusive other films Working Title had worked on seemed to have a similar target market for a majority of the comedy films the enterprise had produced. We can therefore deduce that Working title may have used its passed experience with these films to aid it in audience research so that a marketing budget could be created. Films such as 'Ali G' and 'Bean' were likely to have a proportion of the audience that would find 'The Boat That Rocked' to thier taste. Also followers of the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost films such as 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Shaun Of The Dead' which were very successful, may also have been targeted due to Nick Frost's character in 'The Boat That Rocked' playing quite a major role. Screenings of the film in order to get feedback and check with target audience would have been inevitable as well as questionnaires and general feedback. It is possible that Working Title may have rested on it's laurels in terms of audience research and this may be why the film wasn't as successful as they would have wished.

Market Research for Avatar on the other hand would  have been on a very large scale due to it being a more global film with audience research needing to be conducted for marketing the film in every country in which it was released, which is many. A marketing strategy would have had to be make for each individual country so that the film was to succeed as well as it did. Screenings would have been done nationally along with questionnaires and other research methods in order to get as accurate results as possible so that they could make as much money as possible through marketing and exhibiting the film. As a major focus of the American Film Industry is marketing thier products, it is very likely that the producers where obtaining feedback from stage one. With the initial target audience being such a large group of 8-80 it would have been important to create an image for the film that would satisfy everybody which would have been decided on by intensive audience research.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


What is ditribution?
- Audience - who/what/why?
- Likes/dislikes
- Buy the rights to the film, and distribute to cinemas to be exhibited
- Release and Marketing Strategies

- Produced by James Cameron and Lightstorm - Owned by Fox

The Boat That Rocked

- Produced by Richard Curtis and Working Title Films, Owned by Universal

- Fox spent $350 million on marketing Avatar
- USP - Immersive 3D experience unlike anything before, use of new technology
- Aimed at everyone

- $47 million spent on The Boat That Rocked
- Ensemble cast, previous success - everyone had high expectations of the film
- Aimed at young people, teenagers, but also older people that lived in during the time of the film.

- Premiered in London on 10th December, then in Hollywood on 16th. General release on the 18th.
- Rleasing in London first broke conventions and created hype
- Premiered in Hollywood before the weekend release to create more hype and smash the box office on the opening weekend.


- First shown in UK on 1st April 2009, premiered 2 weeks later at Copenhaged Film Festival.
- Released across Europe over the next 3 months
- Released in America on 12th November, almost 7 months later.
- Multiple Relase strategy, try to build hype by word of mouth.

- Working Title used passed experience with previous films to aid in research.
- Based on the actors in film, audience research was done
- Initial screenings for feedback may have been done.
- Or they did nothing, and so the film flopped.


- Market Research on a very large scale
- National screenings with feedback questionnaires
- Obtained feedback from various stages throughout the production