Fathom is a great known service doing event screenings in key theater chains across the country. Their key chains are: Regal, AMC, Cinemark, and some Loews and Pacific Theatres too but they’re fewer in number.

Films such as I.O.U.U.S.A have made great money and had a great release with Fathom. Other services such as Cinedigm and Screenvision are also offering similar programs at the same top chains. AMCi announced it’s reserving screens for indie films too, but details have not been released on this program yet.  Stay tuned.

Are you a filmmaker who has worked with a distributor or service company for theatrical exhibition? Tell us about them in our Distributor Report Card.

TFC Tidbit of the Day 19-Theatrical Exhibition

July 21, 2010
posted by sheric

Every filmmaker wants a theatrical exhibition for their film because of the prestige and the classic appeal. Key, in our opinion, is to know what’s possible and what you’re paying for. There are lots of services that charge big fees to book your film. Be knowledgeable about when you can book yourself (Landmark, Film Forum, Quad, Laemmle Theatres, Cinema Village, lots of others), or spend less on theatrical.

Publicity is the most important part of theatrical and that’s what you should spend money and time on. A New York Times review is usually a key goal, and it won’t come from having just a NYC release (that’s new NYT policy). A Theatrical release is important to directors for the obvious reasons and it is a very useful marketing component, but the operative word is “useful”. It’s useful only if it does not cost you more than you’ll make back from it and ancillaries that are enhanced by it.

According to one of our VOD partners, Comcast and InDemand have said, off-the-record, that they will start insisting on a 10-city day & date release for films to have access to their service. This policy would be implemented to help sift through the glut of the content in supply. We caution, before filmmakers rush into that spend, to think whether their film is likely to make it onto key Cable VOD platforms. Will the spend on theatrical likely be recouped on VOD? Also, cable VOD wants day and date releases, but theatres don’t so be cautious when planning your distribution route.

Are you a filmmaker who has worked with a distributor or service company for theatrical exhibition? Tell us about them in our Distributor Report Card.

Just because a documentary doesn’t get a theatrical distribution deal doesn’t mean it can’t be considered for an Academy Award. Since many great docs don’t get distributed theatrically, many filmmakers choose to qualify the film themselves. But it’s not cheap. The least expensive option is the IDA’s DOCUWEEKS program (www.documentary.org), or you can four-wall the film yourself. It needs to run at least two times a day, for a week in New York City AND Los Angeles. Theaters that regularly cater to this kind of Academy-qualifying runs include the Laemmle’s in LA, and the IFC Center in NYC. Know in advance that you should expect to pay at least $30,000 to qualify this way. If you are considering this kind of run….TFC can help.

Are you a documentary filmmaker who has worked with a distributor for theatrical exhibition? Tell us about it on our Distributor Report Card.