Wednesday, March 30, 2016

INDIE DISTRIBUTION Festival then VoD day after, Swanberg strategy

This guy puts even Shane Meadows (the 5-day shoot £48k Le Donk) to shame, releasing SEVEN features in a year.

Over time he has responded to the limited benefit of festival buzz (6/7 months later when the DVD/VoD release occurs, the buzz is gone he notes) with his own unique strategy: put it out on VoD the day after a festival screening, tap into that buzz.

He urges Indie filmmakers to keep as much control as they can over production and distribution, noting that he makes most money when he has self-financed rather than relying on investors.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

EDITING terms and examples

AUDIENCE WEB 2.0 Fans call BVS ratings BS

This is a point that has almost been taken for granted for some time: in the web 2.0 era, where the audience/producer divide is unclear at best, the power of the traditional media critics is gone.

Batman vs Superman SEEMS to be a good example of this: awful ratings but record-breaking opening figures (ahead if Avengers, the 3rd biggest hit of all-time).

HOWEVER... word of mouth has not been great, and it seems doubtful that the film will enjoy sustained success. Many believe that this is a conspiracy of paid-off hacks protecting Marvel's empire by trashing the Warner Bros/DC rival, for which this film marks the start of a 5 year schedule of comic book movie adaptations, seeking to replicate the huge success of the ultra-converged Marvel Universe which skips between TV and cinema routinely.

Moreover, 9/10 of the year's top 10 biggest hits had 60%+ RottenTomatoes ratings (a new shorthand for critical consensus).

The modest examples of Warp's '71 (low opening Friday night turnout but box office staff in Bradford correctly predicted that once The Guardian had reviewed it the audience would pick up) and Le Donk (placing trailers for a theatrical release that was never planned to generate newspaper reviews to boost DVD and VoD sales) also show that the established, traditional media continue to play a part in determining movie's success.

After all, the stars of this mega-budget tentpole ($250m and same again on prints and marketing) duly trooped over to the UK to film a Graham Norton Show Special, looking to boost its appeal beyond its core youth audience and firm up it's four quadrant credentials!

Is the biggest Batman v Superman smackdown between fans and critics?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SELF-DISTRIBUTION Orion £25 package with vinyl

Consume with care: are bespoke releases the future of film?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Biggest cinema markets ranked by box office. UK in top 5

These will vary over time, but the UK and France are Europe's biggest markets, with Japan and China key Asian markets. China is expected to eventually exceed the US box office (perhaps towards the end of 2017?), but India's massive population is less likely to follow suit with ticket prices so much lower in the countryside.

The UK is dwarfed by the US and China, but it, France and Japan are closely matched and are ranked differently depending on the survey/year but is the 3rd, 4th or 5th biggest cinema market in the world, a definite top 5 market. Note how low its share from nationally produced films is - US films account for 4 times the box office of UK-produced films. No figure is given for the US but this would be in the high 90%+ range.

Table from Wiki. Note that China's figures are more recent than the rest, significant as they are growing every year.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

DISTRIBUTION disruption debate

Fantastic article (or at least the SXSW panel debate it reports on) with strongly contrasting views on how the industry works, whether digitisation has opened doors for the little guy, if stars really make a difference, if the whole industry is nuts as only 1% of releases make money (probably a rhetorical claim)...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Film PITCHING guide from executives at SXSW

A hit team of Hollywood producers discussed the art of pitching at a SXSW (the Texas festival) session. Quotes are from the article by Liz Nord (2016) How Not to Pitch a Movie: Production Execs Tell All.
NB: the article contains an image which may be considered disturbing/NSFW (poor choice from a great site).
I did learn a new term from this myself: sizzle reel! Read on [click the read more] to find out what that is!

Last year, Shaked Berenson's company got 28 scripts from agents, double that number from managers, and slightly more from producers. About ten times that number were unsolicited. 
Epic Pictures Group made five films that year.
Berenson and his fellow SXSW 2016 panelists, who have decades of Hollywood producing experience between them, gave a few pointers. The group included Gudrun Giddings, CEO of G4C Innovation; Travis Stevens, CEO of Snowfort Pictures (whose film Teenage Cocktail is playing at this year’s fest); and Winnie Kemp, Director of Development at Super Deluxe/Turner.

ROM-COM Is this Working Title's signature genre?

In this post I highlight a recurrent point that has been made for some years now: the rom-com is DEAD and (box office) buried!

That is based on the lack of major, 'breakthrough' [very wide audience, typically overachieving for its budget] rom-coms in recent years, with the series of Jennifer Aniston flops symbolising this seeming reality. Is this true? Debatable. All genres go in and out of fashion. There is a solid argument that TV is now the home of the rom-com (not least the TV adaptation of About a Boy!).

Working Title are arguably more commonly associated with the genre than any other film production outlet, not just in the UK, but globally. They have had an impressive run of rom-com hits, and it seems unlikely that they will simply fail to add to this list. The upcoming third Bridget Jones flick could well change views on the rom-com's box office potential.

As far back as 1987, WT's 3rd production was a rom-com, albeit one with a social realist style which made minimal impact, Hanif Kreshi's Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (US cinema release only through Cinecom, just $1.2m, no budget figure available; it is also listed as unrated, indicating it didn't get a wide release). Director Stephen Frears had also directed their debut feature, My Beautiful Laundrette, and would go on to direct many more for the company.
The Tall Guy didn't stand too large at the box office...but did bring Richard Curtis into WT

1989 saw the introduction of Richard Curtis, screenwriter of The Tall Guy, a rom-com with a US star (Jeff Goldblum) plus Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson. Apparent changes to remove some British references (replacing US actors names in dialogue) and positive reviews didn't save it from box office gloom, a mere $500k and no record of releases elsewhere (straight-to-TV in the UK?). You can visit its blank WT website page here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ROM-COM no more love for the classic hybrid?

I've read a variety of articles over the past decade announcing the death of the rom-com after some genre flick flopped (often starring Jennifer Aniston!).

Here's another ... which goes a step further in pronouncing a range of genres as dead and box office buried, but also argues that TV is now the true home of the rom-com, an intriguing point in this era of digitisation and convergence:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

REPRESENTATIONS Hollywood's war on Muslims?

A detailed analysis of the real world impact of the normative representation of Arabs, the Middle East and Muslims (all very diverse demographics) as anti-Western, violent and a threat.

A recent study found a stunning 97% of such Hollywood characters to be negatively portrayed.

This is despite the seeming lack of box office appetite for films on the Iraq or Afghanistan campaigns - though this us now being reflected in a turn to satire and comedy after the failure of even critically acclaimed dramas such as The Hurt Locker.

‘Death to the infidels!’ Why it’s time to fix Hollywood’s problem with Muslims

Sunday, March 06, 2016

STARS Hiddlestone key to Wheatley's High Rise financing

“You’ve always got the question of how to trigger the finance for a film as crazy as this,” Wheatley says. “And that comes from casting as much as anything.

Ben Wheatley: ‘Financing a film as crazy as this takes good casting’

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

RELEASE WINDOW Star Wars 16.5 week wait for DVD

A typically jargon-packed column here on the UK's weekly box office; regular exposure to writing such as this will teach you a lot about the way this industry thinks and operates.

We have the 'counter-programming' of Working Title's Hail Caesar, adult fare from the Coens in amongst the various franchise, tentpole releases dominating the box office as ever.

Then there's Deadpool dropping 48% in its 3rd 'frame' (week of release, with weekend takings really the key measurement, thus the term 'opening weekend'), a typical figure.

Grimsby is compared to all the previous Bacha-Cohen releases, a serious flop given the heavy marketing campaign. I thought it was notable that the actor chose to appear as Ali G when doing his turn at the Oscars on Sunday; now a well established brand, unlike the struggling 90s-style English lad/lout he's failing to sell in Grimsby.

The major story nails down the precise terms demanded by the UK multiplexes for exclusive exhibition rights before DVD release: 16.5 weeks. Star Wars may actually exceed this, with the lucrative Easter holidays not far off and the film only just outside the top ten. No DVD release date has yet been announced, suggesting an extended cinema window is being considered.

It's now up to £122m, easily the biggest ever in the UK, trouncing the £105m Skyfall raised as the only other 9-figure film (the latest Bond, Spectre, topping out just short at £94m).

Bear in mind that such figures are routine in the US, where $1bn is the target figure for the truly monster hits (Gant rule...).

Grimsby sickens but fails to gross as Deadpool continues heroics at the UK box office