If you have completed your film, you may not elect to go through a distributor, in fact you might just go through a movie exhibition theatre and bypass the distributor. However, most people aren’t so lucky. The film exhibitioners are the real gatekeepers.

According to many sources, these 11 Independent and Hollywood film exhibitors have
had the highest returns from 2000-2008 that have an corporate offices/small theatres in New York City, Manhattan. The phone numbers here are for the management and not the box office. But you may find business contact information through the box office as well. Please reply to nyctrader_07 for any questions, or put a comment on the post if you would.

United Artists

1350 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-708-0300

IFC Theater

323 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10014

Film Forum

209 W Houston St.
New York, NY 10014
(212) 727-8110

Quad Cinemas

34 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-8800

The Two Boots Pioneer Theater
East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B
New York, New York 10012
(212) 591-0434

Cinema Village (Owns Three Cinemas in NYC)

22 E 12th St, New York, NY
(212) 924-3363‎

Paris Theater

4 W 58th St, New York, NY
(212) 688-3800‎

Sunshine Cinema

143 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 330-8182

Ohio Theater/ SoHo Think Tank

64 Wooster St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 966-4844

Anthology Film Archives

32 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003 USA
Telephone: (212) 505-5181

Tribeca Grand Theatre

2 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
(212) 519-6600

More to come next post….


Comparing Your Film to Other Films for the Film Distribution Process

When marketing/showing your film to a distributor, it is important to show other films in your genre similar to your film in sales, budget, average number of screens(if possible) worldwide gross and weeks in theatres. These are projected amounts and you should assume your film will have the same budget and all other requisites. Just like last post, which was analyzing box office info, we have a movie and all it’s numerical figures from box office results. I have chosen a very hard genre, which is docudrama and not as popular as high concept film. This film called “Touching the Void” is about mountain climbing and an intense documentary. This film’s budget wqs about 3 million dollars and may be similar to your film’s budget. I have found similar movies to “Touching the Void” and compared them using sites such as Box Office, and and our own proprietary system. Here is the results below. Try this with a sheet of paper or a new microsoft document in this same setup as below. Please reply to or add a comment below for any questions.

Movie Budget(in millions) Average Number of Screens Worldwide Gross
(in millions)
Touching the Void 1.5 million pounds (3 million dollars) 77 13 22
Everest 5 43 125 154
Shackleton’s Anartic Adventure 7 14 22 147
Climbing Cold Mountain 8 15 15 8
The Tom Whitataker Story: One Step at a Time 500,000 dollars 22 7 15
The Alps 3 18 7 6
Cerro Torre Schrei Aus Stein: Scream of Stone 500,000 dollars 9 10 19
The Man who Skied Down Everest 400,000 CAD 2 2 2

Reviewing Top Box Office Chart Information e.g. Spiderman To Compare Your Film.

Ever wonder just how the movie theatre chain business works and how to project and compare your film earnings of your movie ? You can find it out on any Box Office Report and compare your film on a smaller scale (example below). By reviewing a Box Office Chart, you can tell what a movie made on average of every theatre in the country( although these figures vary, and are slightly overreported.) Take for instance, Spiderman 1. The below figures report over 400 million in gross sales. Spiderman 1 grossed almost 115 million on the weekend of May 3rd, 2002. Out of 3,615 theatres in the US – each theatre on weighted average did about 32,000 in sales each. (Of course some made more than others.) These earnings and figures each week are reported to the distributor and a percentage is given to the movie theatre for exhibiting it.

As I say in my posts, making a succesful run at having a distributor fund your film is reducing the risk for them. This is done in a film distribution memorandum. The primary focus in this distribution memorandum is COMPARING your film to others. So, you can compare a similar film(s) to yours in your genre..(2 or 3 to be safe) Compare the terms such as Gross Amounts, Amount of Theatres, Per Theatre and Date, you can safely say your film is compareable to these figures when the film gets distributed by the distributor.

So again, on a smaller scale, (You can go on a higher or lower scale) if movie A and movie B are similar to yours and have box office statistics of 6,000 dollars per theatre for one weekend and the distributor had the film(s) showing in 20 theatres, the film(s) comparable to yours made 120,000 dollars that weekend. You can say that your film has a likeness to theirs and that is how much your film will make opening weekend. You can compare smaller figures from the weeks on, You might want to include about 3 months full of statistics as well to show the distributor, this is how long you want the film in the theatres. The main idea of this is to show the distributor on how you want your movie opening to run to the finish.
Please use the chart below for any examples you might need or to answer any questions about this post on reviewing Box Office Information. If you have any further comments, please email me at or reply to the post, i will get back to you right away.

Date Rank Gross Theaters Per Theater Total Gross Days
5/3/2002 1 $114,844,116 3,615 $31,769 $114,844,116 3
5/10/2002 1 $71,417,527 3,615 $19,756 $223,040,031 10
5/17/2002 2 $45,036,912 3,615 $12,458 $285,573,668 17
5/24/2002 2 $28,508,104 3,876 $7,355 $333,641,492 24
5/31/2002 3 $14,317,411 3,646 $3,927 $353,823,544 31
6/7/2002 5 $10,311,062 3,235 $3,187 $370,428,183 38
6/14/2002 7 $7,515,984 2,702 $2,782 $382,537,669 45
6/21/2002 10 $4,555,932 2,278 $2,000 $390,382,313 52
6/28/2002 11 $3,130,214 1,810 $1,729 $395,874,471 59
7/5/2002 13 $2,204,636 1,502 $1,468 $400,058,357 66
7/12/2002 18 $890,372 574 $1,551 $401,991,818 73
7/19/2002 22 $403,186 265 $1,521 $402,770,278 80
7/26/2002 25 $251,065 177 $1,418 $403,142,910 87
8/2/2002 25 $234,714 228 $1,029 $403,505,336 94
8/9/2002 40 $84,383 85 $993 $403,620,726 101
8/16/2002 44 $67,390 74 $911 $403,706,375 108

Marketing Your Film in a Print Ad in a Newspaper and/or Magazine

Most people like certain magazines and newspapers and if you have won a film festival and will be given a chance to exhibit, why not advertise your film in the newspaper? You can be just like the big guns of Hollywood and no one is stopping you. You can advertise your film as “coming soon to (insert the film festival here) between such and such date”.

Hollywood advertises all it’s movies as coming soon to a theatre near you and so can you.
How would you know what newspaper to advertise in? Even if you have a favorite newspaper or magazine don’t consider it with any other effort. Your marketing might be more efficient if you know just how many people at the highest read a newspaper. This can be understood with newspaper circulation data. Wikipedia published a page on the highest U.S Circulation of Newspapers and I picked the top ten, and out of those- one or two newspapers would be getting my advertisement. The Top ten are below or you can check out the Wikipedia page here :

# Newspaper City Largest Reported Circulation Owner
1 Usa Today MacLean, VA 2,524,965 Gannett Comapny
2 Wall Street Journal NY, NY 2,068,439 News Corporation
3 New York Times NY, NY 1,627,062 New York Times Company
4 Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, CA 1,173,096 Tribune Company
5 Chicago Tribune Chicago, IL 940,620 Tribune Company
6 Washington Post Washington, DC 929,921 Washington Post Company
7 New York Daily News NY, NY 775,543 New York Daily News
8 New York Post NY, NY 741, 099 News Corporation
9 Denver Post/ Rocky Mountain Press Denver, CO 704, 168 Media News Group/E.W. Scripps Company
10 Dallas Morning News Dallas, TX 702,135 Belo Company


1889- Thomas Edison builds the first Motion picture studio.

1902- Henry Miles sets up the first film exchange, allowing exhibitors to rent the films instead of buying them.

1908- Nine leading producers set up the Motion Picture Patents Company, and agree not to sell or lease equipment to any distributors who purchase motion pictures from any other company.

1900-1909, Edison single handedly tried to grab hold of the film business for himself by suing every competitor every time they tried to distribute a movie.

1909 – Carl Laemmle founded the Independent Motion Picture Company disgusted with Edison’s monopoly.

1911 – Credits start to appear in motion pictures.

1912-Carl Laemmle, Pat Powers and Mark Dintenfass merged their studios into what is known as Universal Studios today.

1914- Paramount Pictures is founded – second independent motion picture studio.

1915- William Fox founds Fox Film Corporation, and combines production, distribution and theatres together.

1915-1924- United Artists, Warner Brothers, MGM and Columbia formed as studios.
Late 1920’s- Owners that usually retained control of their studio system, started hiring supervisors to run day to day operations and organization started taking place in a producer unit system that included a general manager, executive manager, producer and supervisors.

1930’s – Hollywood was divided into four groups, majors, minors, “B”studios and independents. All five major studios ran vertically integrated.

Late 1930’s – Walt Disney, Samuel Goldwyn and David Selznick owned their own studios but started distributing independently and not through the major companies.

Late 1930’s- The federal government accuses the Hollywood majors of restraint of trade by controlling all means of production, distribution and theatres and shutting independents out. The lawsuit was put on hold for war-time reasons.

Mid 1940’s- Government accuses the majors of monopolizing on the best talent and monopolizing on all movies by owning the theatres. The government calls for the studios to break ownership with the theatres.

Late 1940’s- Government forces studios to break ownership an in the next year, the Hollywood major’s break from the theatres.

Late 1940’s- Early 50’s – Sam Speigel became a new pioneer of independent movies among with Orson Welles, He created his own distribution company – Horizon Films, and then founded a production method that is still in use by independent producers today – financing films by pre-selling foreign distribution rights.

Early 1950’s to Late 1950’s- NBC became first nationwide TV network and threatens theater audiences, so studios were forced to find ways to make money on television.

Late 1950’s – Major studios forced to break ownership with the theatres started to fall, the golden age of film had reached it’s peak in the late 30’s and fell in the late 50’s.

Early 1960’s- Major Studios in desperation started financing independent films and the studios were bought up by major conglomerates who invested and traded in the studios.

Early 1960’s- Late 1960’s – American International Pictures, a up and coming production and distribution company, distributed some very popular series of movies, including Roger Corman’s films based on Edgar Allen Poe. American Intl’ Pictures started the genre of marketing films to teenagers. Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro and Francis Ford Coppola got their starts with American Intl’.

Early 1960’s – Late 1960’s – John Cassavetes, considered the father of Independent Film, made courageous new works, such as “Faces” and “Shadows” with no help from financial banks, the major studios. He could not get anyone in America to distribute his film in the US, so he received International help. He did not care for pleasing anyone in monetary standards, a true maverick, only himself.

Late 1960’s, Early 1970’s – Blaxploitation film genres became popular with a commercially successful film by Melvin Van Peebles “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.”. Other notable indie filmmakers at the time that featured blaxploitation were Gordon Parks, William Crain and William Levy. Over 200 films were shown in the 1970’s with black main characters.

1974- Cassavetes independently self distributed his last film “ Under the Influence” that went on to make 16 million dollars.

1975- Steven Speilberg created “Jaws” that caused a comeback by the Majors, started the rise of the Blockbuster movie and the rise of saturation marketing.

1977- George Lucas started the auxillary market by betting his toys from his Star Wars trilogy would fund his movies. The studios had no idea of this profitable and lucrative auxillary market of toys and licensing could be of such benefit to a filmmaker.

1977-79 – Successful independents started that are still successful to this day, Lions Gate Films, Miramax Films and Samuel Goldwyn Films.

1980’s – Independent Films started gaining large audiences with the works of up and coming directors and distributors, Joel and Ethan Coen, Jim Jarumusch, David Lynch and John Sayles.

1981- Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute, a non- profit organization offering help to up and coming indie directors.

1980’s – A string of popular majors films were created.

1989- Sex, Lies and Videotape by Steve Soderbergh becomes one of the first indie blockbusters with a budget of a million that made 24 million and one of the best investments in indie film to date at that time.

1990-Present to be continued in new blog post..


Risk Statement- Project Summary -Creative Team-Timeline -the budget-market research-(film industry, the economy and film, future trends-history of independent distribution-what distributors do-we do everything to make the deal work-compare movies to others- by criteria and by objective financial analysis- using quantitative and qualitative reasoning

Table of Contents-

Risk Statement- a legal letter that covers all aspects of partnership and/ or investments.

Project Summary – A brief synopsis of the movie regarding the plot and characters.

Creative Team- All involved in the creation. List he director or producer, the cast, production staff, art direction, camera operators, sound operators and editor(s).

Timeline – from your FILMS’ Pre-production to Post-production by week

Preproduction- polish of screenplay, casting crew, location searching, allocate props- 3 weeks
4th week- most casting completed, commence rehearsals
6th week-financing complete, casting complete
8th week – have all crew, locations and props
9th -10th week – begin editing and production
15 week- production complete
Post Production- 16th-25th weeks – editing
25th-30th weeks- sound cutting, music composing, score music
30-40 weeks – all editing completed

2 months after – pursuing a distributor, film festivals, foreign sales agent
Profits will be distributed after 6 months and continue to be distributed every half year

The budget includes monetary figures of – the story, copyrights, the direction, the cast, legal, production staff, art direction, the Set, makeup, camera operators, sound operators, transportation, locations, total production expenses, total editing, publicity, festival expenses, insurance.

Trend Indicators and Market research

• The Film Industry= it’s history- it is what sells itself
• U.S Admissions Growth from the MPAA – talk about where the film industry is now and how it has been in profit up until now.
• Talk about Film and the Economy
• Talk about how Film has been unaffected by the economical swings for the most part

Future Trends- We can project 2008-2016 profits by film medium outlets below in Millions of Dollars by using qualitative data from 2001-2008 below. Numbers are in the millions.

2001 2008
Theatrical Rentals 4,405 9,021
Home Video 3,270 12,317
Broadcast Networks 596 816
Syndicated Television 141 146
Pay Television 1291 1866
Basic Cable 1420 2469
Merchandising/ Licensing 905 1298
PPV/VOD/DBS 433 3466
Hotel Airlines 70 119
2001 2008
Theatrical Rentrals 3279 5536
Home Video 5437 9617
Network TV/Syndication 2356 3527
Pay TV 2094 3090
Merchandising 1591 2420
PPV/Hotel/ Airlines 122 596

Then a History of Independent Film Distribution- Our history is in a blog post archive to prove your film in history will be successful.

Then a description of what the filmmaker thinks a distributor does to prove that the filmmaker is well informed about the industry.
Let the distributor know what acquisition executives do at a distribution company to get your film made and have a support staff to monitor and track the production, the end of the production and ticket sales from there.

Then what are we going to do everything to ensure a deal and we might even proceed without a distributor because of our success so far with audience attention (we don’t need you really) then if our movie sells big then we’ll know that the theater owner will move ours to a bigger theatre even if there is competition for a new movie. Independent movies like ours (Your film here) offer a big return on investment because they cost less to make.

Then income – budgeted actual and projected amounts by comparing other movies to what it might cost.

More to come..continued next blog


Informative Topics on Film Distribution covered in the blog in depth are :

Film Distribution History 1890 to Present – a Journey through the many pitfalls and advances in film distribution, from the start to present please write to us if you would like to add to our compiliation.

Budgets- A Quantatative presentation of what example budgets cost in full and how much to expect to budget while creating your own.

Public relations PR/Film Distribution
Memorandums – A throrough look at film distribution memorandums and what the table of contents is and how to create your own distribution memorandum for self promoting or to distributors who want to buy your film.

Market Research/Analysis- Detailed market research in your genre that coincides with your film distribution memorandum to create your sales hook to distributors, investors and more.

Marketing/Promotions – Successful Magazine Advertisements, Newspaper/Other, Media Buying – who to contact to get the best deal in advertising and poster prints and who to contact to place these advertsisements.

Sales/International Sales- 75 percent for the distributor which includes your agreed upon percentage, 25 percent for theatres and wholesale costs to entertainment retailers, and retail cost – or self promoting with a distributor and your costs – minus your profits.

Contracts/ Permission Agreements for print, audio, video and artwork and what you need to know.

Movie Theatres- Screenings for press and screenings for people, income they make, how their business is formed to get an undertanding of how to the movie theatre business works.

DVD Market- and Video Outlets – Explores all options for distribution – theatre (platform release, direct to DVD, VOD, Internet) and develops a strategy for distribution.

Investors/Sponsorships- investments in stock of companies/ your company – How sponsorships with investors are formed with Basics 101 of Sponsoring. How to attract investors with sales pitches. Which investors are interested in what genre and more..

Sales Reports for Fiscal Years- Sales Tracking – How distribution companies prepare and track the sales of DVD’s, theatre seats and all distribution outlets so they profit and send to you the correct amount of monies.

Deceptive Movie Distributor Practices – How to avoid unhonest distributors and reasons behind them.

DVD Authoring and Costs- How to budget for these distribution costs and how much they cost individually. Where to find such talent all around America, especially in New York and California. This knowledge will be useful so if you don’t plan to self distribute, you’ll know how much the distribution company will charge so you will only have to pay this amount.

Translations/Subtitles/Dubbing/Voiceover- How to budget for these distribution costs and how much they cost individually. Where to find such talent all around America, especially in New York and California. Can be used domestically or when planning for international markets. This knowledge will be useful so if you don’t plan to self distribute, you’ll know how much the distribution company will charge so you will only have to pay this amount.

Beta copies of DVD’s- The process of procuring BETA copies of your DVD from production companies and the costs involved.

Retail outlets for sales – In America, who buys DVD’s Wholesale and Rents for Business

International Markets and Licensing – taking your film to the next step with co-distributions and distribution companies all over the globe.