A movie distribution company (or film distributor) is a company or organization responsible for getting a movie from the production studio to the audience. Movie distribution involves various activities, including marketing, advertising, and coordinating the release of the film in theaters, on television, through streaming services, and on physical media such as DVDs and Blu-rays. The primary goal of a movie distribution company is to maximize the film’s exposure and revenue potential.
What are the functions of a film distribution company?
Movie distribution companies play a pivotal role in connecting filmmakers and studios with their target audiences, ensuring that films are widely accessible and financially successful. They help navigate the entertainment industry’s complex landscape and adapt to viewers’ evolving preferences.
Here are some of their key functions and responsibilities:
- Acquiring Rights: Distribution companies typically acquire the rights to distribute a film in specific geographic regions or across various platforms. They may obtain these rights through negotiations with filmmakers, production studios, or by participating in film festivals and markets.
- Marketing and Promotion: Distribution companies are responsible for creating marketing campaigns and promotional strategies to generate buzz and interest in the film. This includes designing posters, trailers, and other promotional materials, as well as organizing press screenings and premieres.
- Theatrical Release: For many films, distribution companies handle the theatrical release, which involves coordinating with movie theaters to schedule screenings and manage the logistics of the release. They negotiate terms for screen time, distribution fees, and revenue sharing.
- Home Video and Streaming Distribution: Distribution companies also oversee the release of movies on various home entertainment platforms, including DVD, Blu-ray, digital downloads, and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. They negotiate licensing agreements with these platforms.
- International Distribution: In the case of international distribution, companies may work with local distribution partners or directly distribute films in foreign markets. This involves translating subtitles or dubbing the film into different languages and navigating foreign distribution regulations.
- Legal and Contractual Matters: Distribution companies handle the legal aspects of film distribution, including drafting contracts, ensuring compliance with copyright and licensing laws, and resolving disputes that may arise during distribution.
- Box Office Reporting and Revenue Distribution: Distribution companies track box office performance and revenue generated from various distribution channels. They calculate and distribute earnings to the filmmakers and studios according to contractual agreements.
- Film Festival Submissions: Distribution companies may submit films to prestigious film festivals to generate publicity and secure distribution deals. They often attend film markets like the Eko International Film Festival, Abuja International Film Festival, Imo International Film Festival, and Africa International Film Festival, amongst others to network with industry professionals.
- Managing Physical and Digital Distribution: In the past, distribution companies were primarily involved in physical distribution (e.g., DVDs), but with the rise of digital distribution, they also manage the delivery of films to online platforms and services.
- Long-Term Distribution Strategy: Distribution companies may be involved in long-term strategies for a film’s distribution, including re-releases, director’s cuts, and anniversary editions.
Top film distribution companies in Nigeria
These are just a few of the many film distribution companies in Nigeria. The film distribution industry is growing rapidly in Nigeria, and there are many new companies entering the market.
1. FilmOne Distribution Limited
FilmOne Distribution Limited is a Nigerian film distribution and production company founded by Moses Babatope. It is one of the leading film distribution companies in Nigeria, with a wide distribution network that covers cinemas across the country. FilmOne has distributed some of the biggest Nigerian films of all time, including “The Wedding Party” (2016), “Fifty” (2015), and “Okafor’s Law” (2016).
Currently, FilmOne is the exclusive theatrical licensees to The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers Discovery, and Empire Entertainment in Anglophone West Africa.
2. Silverbird Film Distribution (W.A) Limited
Silverbird Distribution Limited is a Nigerian film distribution company owned by the Silverbird Group. It was founded in July 2007 as the First Indigenous Film Distribution company for Nollywood, Universal, and Paramount Pictures titles in West Africa. Silverbird Distribution has distributed a wide range of Nigerian and foreign films, including “Living in Bondage” (1992), “Ije” (2004), and “Half of a Yellow Sun” (2013).
3. Blue Pictures Film Distribution
Blue Pictures Film Distribution is one of the leading film distribution companies in Nigeria. They have a strong track record of success and are committed to helping filmmakers bring their films to the world. If you are a filmmaker looking for a film distribution company in Nigeria, Blue Pictures Film Distribution is a great option.
The company has worked with notable film companies like Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Film Finity, and some independent studios in the United States of America. They are also distributors of both Hollywood & Nollywood Content.
4. Purpledam Pictures
Purpledam Pictures is a fast-growing Nigerian film distribution company founded by Igbo Stanford. It has worked with popular production companies like Julob Entertainment Limited, Sixar Studios, Hanuluo Film Inc., 1Legendary Productions, and many others.
They have worked in the production and distribution of award-winning films like ‘”Chiugo” (2022), “Broken” (2021), “A Place I Called Home” (2023), and “Perfect Distraction” (2022).
5. Genesis Deluxe Film Distribution
Genesis Deluxe Film Distribution is not a separate company from Genesis Cinemas. It is the film distribution arm of Genesis Cinemas, which is the leading cinema chain in West Africa. Genesis Cinemas has cinemas located in Lagos, Owerri, Port-Harcourt, Asaba, Warri, and Abuja.
Genesis Cinemas was founded in 2008 by the Genesis Group, a Nigerian-based conglomerate established in 1991 with its key focus on hospitality and entertainment. The company has a strong track record of success and is committed to providing its customers with the best possible cinema experience.
Genesis Deluxe Film Distribution was launched in 2011 to distribute films to Genesis Cinemas and other cinemas across Nigeria. The company has a team of experienced professionals who are dedicated to bringing the best films to the Nigerian audience and has distributed a wide variety of films, including both Hollywood and Nollywood films.
Before you leave, also check out our previous article on the top 10 film schools in Nigeria. We gave a comprehensive review of the schools, plus their addresses and off course, tuition fees.