August 1, 2010

DIY vs Non-DIY Theatrical Releases: Which Brings in a Higher Percentage of the Budget?

Jeremy Juuso, author of Getting the Money: A Step-By-Step Guide for Writing Business Plans for Film, has an interesting post on the film and television data site Baseline Intel. Jeremy compares the theatrical releases of DIY and non-DIY films, and the results might surprise you. Rather than pull a quote from Jeremy's article, however, I'm going to pull a very interesting chart:

On first glance, it's startling how close are the median gross of DIY and non-DIY opening weekends. Of course, without detailed analysis of which films we're talking about and the circumstances of their openings, it's hard to read too much into this data, but the non-DIY's total box office gross of $100k (versus the $50k of DIY releases) looks less favorable when you compare budgets. Is a $100k box office opening for a $3.5 million film better or worse than a $50k opening for a $1m film? From the above chart, non-DIY releases grossed 3% of their budget opening weekend, whereas DIY releases grossed 5% of their budget. Furthermore, as Jeremy points out, "most current DIY releases are DIY by necessity, and not by choice. Naturally, the films with greater commercial appeal will be the ones picked up for distribution." What would happen, then, if a film with "greater commercial appeal" went the DIY route? That's what I'm wondering. Check out Jeremy's post for further analysis...

Also of interest, over on Juuso's Film Data page, Jeremy breaks down independent film releases (as defined by a movie opening in 1,000 venues or less) by month. For example, take a look at Films Released in January 2010 (PDF link), wherein box office totals are broken down by weekend, along with budget numbers, financing partners, representation, and festival premiere. All in all, some interesting food for thought on DIY vs non-DIY theatrical releases -- without even getting into the question of whether to release theatrically at all. Of course, it's impossible to know which of these films are recouping their investment without analytics on VOD, DVD, and PPV as well.

Link: DIY Film Releasing Call to Action: Save Cash, Lest You Run Out of Gas!

[via Ted Hope]

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