While the majors provided 90% of U.S. Box office sales, independent distributors still have a respectable amount of business generating over $1 billion in ticket sales. Independent distributors operate much like the majors but on much smaller scales.

Independent DistributorsThe most successful independents are Summit Entertainment, Magnolia Pictures, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, IFC, Roadside Attractions, Strand Releasing, and Music Box Films.

Independents are more cautious than the majors in the release strategy. They rely heavily on testing on one to a dozen screens or releasing on limited screens in three to six target markets (called a platform release).

If the test results indicate that changes are needed in the campaign or the media buy, independents will make them until they get the results they want. They are usually too small to handle a wide release. However, Summit Entertainment was able to do a wide-release of the first two movies of the Twilight Franchise with great success on 3,600 and 4,000 screens, respectively.

Most independents are more apt to rely on viral and social networking campaigns, and more affordable Internet advertising avenues. They also employ minimalist distribution operations and use creativity in release windows as well, as simultaneous theatrical and VOD (video on demand) release schedules.