That seems appropriate.
This blog was greatly influenced by a conversation that I had a few days ago with the vice-president of one of the major film, television and home entertainment distributors. I wanted his opinion on the merits of having a theatrical P&A fund at his disposal, for acquiring and distributing motion pictures. He said to me, “Stephen, we don’t need to have a P&A fund. There are so many movies made with “A list” actors that have no distribution – which we can pick up for pennies on the dollar. Some of those completely finished films had budgets of $10 or even $20 million, and we can acquire them for less than $2 million. We know that the maximum revenue that we’ll be able to generate out of films like that is probably only $5 to $6 million, but that’s a great pay day for us”.
My blood ran a little cold at those words. He was saying that he could pick up a $20 million production for 10% of the cost to make it? That probably means that the investors aren’t going to see a penny of their money back. It just reminded me again that the key to success in the motion picture industry is distribution – not production. As long term executive from the motion picture industry recently said to me. "The studio bosses take the distribution guys out to dinner, because they’re the only ones on the lot that make them money… everyone else is an expense".
Before anyone invests in a motion picture, they need to ask how the film is going to be distributed and what those deals look like. A truly wonderful film can (and probably will) lose money if the distribution plan is poor; while a really bad film can actually make money, simply because it was well positioned and smartly marketed. Never overlook the importance of marketing. Once again, distribution trumps creativity. Don’t let your emotions overtake your judgment, because it is not a great script, or A list actors that make you money – it is box office brilliance.