Thread: How much are micro-budget / low budget feature films selling for currently?

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  1. #11  
    Senior Member Mark Toia's Avatar
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    You are all right.... The movie selling industry is completely F&%$#*d, There is day light robbery going on were sales agents and distributors should be going to jail..

    The facts are simple... The studios or distributors IF! they think your film is good, may give you your money back... but will own all the best territories for ever... But you must have key elements and many boxes ticked before thats a reality.
    You must have a name actor in it, it must have a commercial appeai. (forget about some adaption of a love story or book you read when you were 16... It must do well in the film shows... Sundance etc..
    If you dont have any of these ticked, then consider yourself screwed.

    NOTE: DO NOT LOOK AT BLAIR WITCH OR PARANORMAL ACTIVITY as a model.. they are anomalies. These are like 1 in 5000... and are done!

    At the end of the day, making the movie is the easy bit... selling the thing is the hard bit. Sales agents and distributors know how desperate you are and will offer you hardly anything for full buy out. They have thousands of films at there disposal for next to nothing. The market is flooded, you didnt thing that cheap digital cameras and FCP was not going to kill the market.

    2000 feature film submissions in the last Sundance and Canne. Does the word LOTTO ring any bells...

    The odds of making a film are slim, selling that film is even slimmer, being ripped off by distributers, absolutely you will. Getting your money back... if your very very very lucky. Making profit if it does really well... you wont see anything of it. not a single cent. The studio or distributor will tell you how it made nothing after costs... FACT.

    Here is a typical scenario that happens quite frequently..
    Your film. 1,000,000 to make.
    You sell it for 1,000,000 (very rare) and manage to get a cut of the profits of 5% once the studio gets there investment back.. Rembering that there investment is not just the 1,000,000 they paid for your film, but also the 5 to 10 in P&A +++++

    Just say your movie makes 20 million at the box office / DVD / Web sales etc..... WOW!!!! awesome !!! (50 tp 60% goes to the cinema owners) leaving 10 mil..
    Sales agents fees, distribution costs and fees, Prints and advertising, etc etc etc.... costs at least 8 to 10 million (Thats what they will tell you, remember there creative accounting), Tax man steps in..
    Leaving you a profit margin of 0...

    This scenario happens every single day... I shit you not. I've seen this happen to countless film makers. They all tell the same exact story.

    I'm sick of talking to the lying cheating bastards... I'm about to kill my movie aspirations because of the conversations I've had with them all lately. I think making films for a living is almost dead for most indie film makers.
    These days you just make movie for fun....

    Thank god for TV commercials is all I can say.
    Mark Toia
    Director / DP / Founder of Zoom Film & Television

    RED DRAGON #456, RED EPIC X #612, RED EPIC X #1137

    www.toia.com

    www.zoomfilmtv.com.au
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  2. #12  
    Senior Member Justin Marx's Avatar
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    Do all the math, then throw it away.. The fact is: if it's well done and marketable it will sell.. Getting that combo together is the hard part.. Then finding the "right" person to sell it for you is even harder! If your script is that good and groundbreaking you will raise your sale possibility by 1000% by getting a name..

    I sold a movie to Lionsgate and we got our money back.. We were happy with that!
    EPIC-M 1261 - officially named "Take 2"
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  3. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Moon View Post
    Anyone have any numbers on what distributors are paying currently for micro-budget / low budget feature films with no big names in them?
    for micro/low budget with no names, it is very genre-dependent...you really just need to take it to the markets and find out what they are willing to shop around and take a trailer with you. last November's AFM, grindhouse had a little bump in demand, horror was dead - was what I was hearing. those kinds of genre trends really wax and wane...if you don't have a name, you're asking the sales agent to sell it on two things - its genre and its production value. if its genre is working, that will up your chances to make some sales. if you have some decent production values, that will help, too. throw in as much aerial, underwater, fx (not cheesy), interesting camera movement, and sharp-looking cars as you can....

    Toia is right that there's sharks in the water, you have to work to find good honest people who will work with you, without screwing you over. most producers (myself included) go to the film markets at the end of their filmmaking process. if you're smart, you will do this first and gather as many data points as possible before you lift a finger to make your film. the beginning is in the end.
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  4. #14  
    Senior Member Zack Birlew's Avatar
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    Not all films are the same. One micro-budget wonder could be picked out of a sea of indie dreck and still fail to find an audience. There's a reason why studios are going after a lot of silly remakes and board game adaptations and it's probably because playing needle in the haystack is more dangerous financially these days than to make "Battleship" about aliens. Adding to that is the frugality of studios today. Look at the industry headlines, "Akira", "Paradise Lost", and "Ouija Board" (though recently brought back) all canceled/halted because they want them all to be made for less than $100 million. Can you imagine, they throw $300 million at "Superman Returns" and they want "Akira" for $90 million or less!
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  5. #15  
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    US distribution is typically zero guarantee. The only upfronts typically require a worldwide buyout. How anyone makes money in indie film is a mystery.
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