The Distributor

Mark Batey | Chief Executive | FDA

The role of a distributor is varied but includes: Acquiring a film.

  • If the distributor is a ‘major’ and is attached to a studio (e.g. Warner Bros. or Universal) then they will normally work on the films made by that studio. A ‘major’ might also acquire the rights to an independent production (made outside the major studios).
  • If it is an ‘independent’ distributor, unaffiliated to one of the major US studios, then the company will buy (license) the rights to a film which they may have seen at a film festival or at script stage, or during the production phase.

Either type of distributor might have the right to distribute the film in the UK only. Major studio distributors will often have the right to distribute the film worldwide.


Mark Batey | Chief Executive | FDA

One key question when either acquiring a film or financing a film is what the distributor thinks are the best selling points of the film are - WHAT type of film it is.


Mark Batey | Chief Executive | FDA

In acquiring the film, the distributor will have considered that there is a viable audience for the film, i.e. WHO might pay to see it.


Mark Batey | Chief Executive | FDA

They will also decide WHEN to release the film in cinemas and on other digital formats.


Mark Batey | Chief Executive | FDA

This will govern HOW they will market the film and how much to spend on advertising and promoting it.

Based on this they will create trailers and display materials to promote the film, create publicity through such things as interviews with the stars online (e.g. twitter Q&As giving public as well as media access); on TV, radio and in the press, premieres and news stories.

This will also involve developing promotions for the film with media partners - all to engage particular audiences as the release of the film approaches.