Alistairm's Blog

Alternative Distribution in Films

Posted in Uncategorized by alistairm on March 8, 2010

Several films, particularily indie films, use alternative distribution methods to promote the film, pay for the expenses of the film and to possibly pay for a sequel. Unconventional methods of release not only makes the film more successful, it also helps to attract a larger audience.

The Age of Stupid – crowd funded and having a no personal gains attitude, The Age of Stupid introduced the groundbreaking indie screening model. This model provided buyers with the ability to possess the license to screen the film and take profits from it’s screening. The model proved to be successful as it was screened in 682 cinemas in the first 4 months of it’s release. This generated enough money to pay for the development of the film and the shareholders. As the film didn’t reap any personal benifit, the method is successful way to promote screenings however unsuccessful in earning money. The film was solely for generating viewer awareness, however, so profit was not an issue.

Star Wreck – Finnish film Star Wreck hosted a free screening, whereby it was free to download the film but accepted donations and sold DVDs to afford a sequel and cover the cost of the film. The film aired on TV channels in countries such as Finland, Italy and Belgium. The film was a success, generating enough money to make a sequel ‘Iron Sky’. The ability to download online generated much popularity, as the film had 3 million downloads. Online downloading allows distributers to screen to a large audience at a minimal cost. The fact that the film was free to download further increased the film’s popularity and success.

Paranormal  Activity – American horror film Paranormal Activity used a ‘demand to see in your area method’. Internet users were to vote, using eventful.com, where the film went next. This method of Viral Marketing was the first of it’s kind to generate success though the distribution relied heavily on word of mouth. Paranormal Activity generated large success as this method is also a form of advertising and became largely popular quickly. When the film reached 1,000,000 demands, it was shown nationwide and soon after Paramount distributed it worldwide. This method was successful as the producers could directly see the demand for the film thus they were able to confidently distribute it worldwide without the risk of not developing enough attention and loosing money.

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