DIY Theatrical Release

DIY Theatrical Release People A theatrical release is releasing your film for viewing in theatres. Of the different types, people are most familiar with wide release: when a film is shown nationwide, in more than 600 theatres. A platform release, on the other hand, is much smaller, usually showing in select theatres in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or Seattle.

Four walling is the easiest kind of release to do yourself, though. Paying in advance to rent a single auditorium allows more leeway to negotiate with the owners of the theatre. Many theatre owners may be willing to negotiate after pre-screening your movie. Art house theatres will appreciate knowing that you’ll handle the advertising, and community-based theatres might be willing to lower their initial fee for a share in the earnings.

Why bother?

When you don’t have a commitment from a distributor, arranging and advertising for even a single-theatre release is a lot of work. However, the benefits of a theatrical release make it worthwhile. A favourable box-office release is vital to market your film internationally. Even if you don’t intend to market overseas, you can use a theatrical release to make money back while garnering reviews and building up buzz about your film.

When to time your release

Be aware of current events while deciding when to release your film. Major sports or political events will draw crowds away. Holidays are also difficult to work against, as are opening weekends for blockbusters. On the other hand, a big opening weekend means that local art-house theatres are likely to be empty, so you could get a better deal from the theatre owner. Market your film well enough to draw viewers into the theatre despite the blockbuster movie opening down the street.

Timing needs to be accounted for with theatres and newspapers as well. A small theatre may print their schedules months beforehand, and the information about your film should be in that schedule. You’ll want newspapers to review your film, and many papers need materials well in advance of the release. Check with the paper’s editor to find out what they need for a movie review and when they need it; it could be a month or more in advance, so to ask early.

Whom to advertise to?

What is a release for film

The first person you’ll need to impress is the owner of the theatre where you hope to show your film. They’ll want to see your posters and postcards, stickers and trailers, newspaper ad layouts and perhaps your Facebook page. Everything you can show them to help convince them that you’re ready to advertise your film will help get your film on their screen. You can also ask them for additional ideas; they’ve done this before. Should you be unsuccessful in marketing your film to theatre owners, you could also try hiring a booker. They have contacts that can mean more theatres, better deals and more showings at a theatre.

It’s also helpful to market your film to those who already go to the theatre you’ll be showing in, to your fan base online, and especially to those local to your area.

Where and how to advertise?

Put up posters in the theatre a couple weeks in advance, and include props, or costumes if the theatre owner agrees. Hand out postcards on the street. After a similar film in the same theatre, a few weeks before your release, let moviegoers get some face time with you while you hand out flyers.

Give away free tickets on the street, in small newspaper ads, and on your film’s website and Facebook page. Announce that you’ll have autographed DVDs at the screening. Host a Q&A, maybe with some of the cast members after the showing, and note that on all the advertising material you have. Advertise yourself or your cast as local if you’re from the area you’re showing in.

Print and advertising (P&A) gets expensive, but it’s crucial to advertise your film to get a successful result from your release.