30 billion dollar global box office, up over previous year and 30% over 2005. However the cost of the films has skyrocked and DVD revenue down. The average film cost well over 100 million dollars to make and market, and that is the average. US companies produced 12% fewer films in 2009 than 2008, due to decrease in investments and the other aspects of the recession.
"Hurt Locker" will not see broad theatrical release, ever, because it is on DVD, video and on-deman, even with all the awards it won! It is the lowest grossing best picture winner in modern history, and lowest overall if you adjust the dollars to equalze all over the year.
Walt Disney India is producing and marketing to southern India. Fox is launching domestic Chinese films. Sony has of course long held Japanese, Korean, Chinese and southeast Asian production centers and marketing.
Paramount is launching a microbudget arm, in part based on the success of "Paranormal Activity." Budgets are well under one million dollars.
Indy films are back to the days of putting stickers on by hand on videos, mailing themselves to critics and awards show nomination committees, making their own calls and putting more time in pushing a product than in making movies. The Indy machines are gone or very select. Self distribution is on the rise.
Richard Fay, president for domestic distribution for Summit Films ("Twilight", "Hurt Locker") says that while self-marketing can get a film seen or a filmmaker known, it takes professionals at distribution to truly build a film to its potential. Getting films into theaters is costly. It takes marketing to drive audience, publicity, a relationship with the theater owners and groups and film (or digital masters) for projection. The physical print, on time, with support materials, marketing dollar commitment, marketing plan and niche. Theatrical distribution remains the start, with the out of home experience of the going to the theater, the word of mouths seeing the film with others generates and the marketing for theatrical distribution paves the way for on-demand, DVD, Blue-ray, Internet and other forms of distribution.
Ultra-low budget still needs to be creative, with the sweat equity of postage stamps and hand mailed DVD's, but also use of on-line networking and other methods. The ultimate is to find financing for distribution and marketing based on your finished product, the opposite to how higher budget films are produced.
Each platform for distribution has its own audience. iTunes skews younger and male. Netflix skews a bit older and female. On-demand male or families. Theaters tend to slant female and younger.
The MPAA, which represents the big companies, also rate films. So they give better ratings (PG-13 instead of R) to big studio films with more violence, language or sex than and indy they will rate R or NC-17.
Bill Mechanic, so-producer of the Academy Awards, and producer of "Coroline", shared an honest post-mortum of this years telecast with KCRW's The Business. For those who watched the awards or anyone who is interested in how live television awards shows, it is worth a listen. Use the links to the right, or go to KCRW.COM to download a podcast or listen to a MP3 of the program.