Sales and distribution are the problem for film makers in 2010

It’s always been the problem, and nothing has changed. When are these guys going to wake up in the 21st century? Of course this is a sweeping statement, not all distributors are the same… but it is largely true.

Over the weekend I saw that London was plastered with posters for the ‘new’ season of ‘Dexter’. I say new because I saw this season last summer. How? Well don’t ask. But suffice to say I am a fan of Dexter, and if you are going to ‘create demand’, you’d better not try to slow down or interrupt that supply. Unlike a decade ago where physical distribution could be controlled, if distributors and exhibitors attempt to stagger releases now, they will be dead in the water within days of release in one territory.

And here is the problem.

Distributors and exhibitors are STILL carving up the planet into territories, and then carving up rights in those territories to stagger releases. Unless we can move forward to ONE global release date, on ALL platforms, the industry will continue to stagnate and suffer ‘piracy’.

A typical problem for me happened last week. My girlfriend Lucia wanted to watch the new Twilight film at the cinema, but it was only showing at 3pm during the day. She works and she was busy with her sister at weekends (who also wanted to watch Twilight but had just had a baby). Having bought and read all the books, watched all the past films at the cinema, then bought them on DVD, imagine the frustration of not being able to see the film simply because the exhibitors had ‘blocked’ them. Demand but no supply. And guess what was suggested? Free of guilt I might add too. I am happy to say that through a stroke of luck, we did finally get to see it on the big screen as hoped.

The lesson? DO NOT create demand and then fail to supply that demand!

And so I look forward to one global release date, delivered via transparent and cost effective technologies that are open to both consumers and producers.

We are so nearly there…

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

3 Responses to Sales and distribution are the problem for film makers in 2010

  1. Don August 23, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Iron Man 2 is released on DVD Sep 28th in the US, Oct 25th in the UK! A whole month that I will have to wait, knowing all the time that I can download a good quality DVD rip any time after the US release. That’s what I call trying my patience!

  2. Michael J. Dowswell August 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    It’s stupid isn’t it…most things in life are either a farce or a racket.

  3. Sheena Hobbs August 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I’ll tell you another MAJOR bug-bear for me … the terrible practice distributors/ production houses have of releasing 2 versions of a film on DVD/Blu-Ray. 1st version is just the theatrical version of the film on one DVD. Then there’s the ‘Special Edition’ release (usually around Xmas) which has an Editor’s cut plus a 2nd DVD full of the extras ie ‘makings of’, special effects, etc. Avatar is a prime example of this. The Lord of the Rings trilogy onto Blu-ray is another – they’ve release the theatrical versions on Blu-ray but sure as nuts the extended cuts will be released on Blu-ray for the Xmas market. Drives me nuts!!

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