3 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Film Distribution Deal

Landing a killer film distribution deal is about reducing risk and increasing the potential reward for a prospective distributor.

The problem is that most filmmakers never think about this stuff until it’s too late.

As a filmmaker, you are creating and selling a product.

Yes, your film is your product.

And like any entrepreneur, you must plan for your product’s marketing, sales, and distribution.

Film Distribution Deal
Film Distribution Deal

Movie Target Audience

To get started, you need to ask yourself: Who is my intended target audience?

If you can look at your movie concept objectively and can’t answer this question in five seconds or less, you need to think harder or evaluate your original concept.

Your Movie Hook

In general business, every company has to figure out its USP.

In movies, your unique selling proposition is described as your hook.

What makes your movie different than the gazillion other movies being made?

And why should anyone care?

Film Marketing Plan

Marketing is probably the last thing you want to consider as a filmmaker.

When you sign with a distributor, they may tell you they have their marketing budget.

Even if you plan to land the biggest distributor you can find who has their marketing engine, it doesn’t matter.

It makes sense for you to create your own marketing, sales, and distribution strategy. The reason for this is simple.

Most filmmakers do not do this. As a result, nearly every filmmaker approaches a prospective distributor the same way:

“Well… Here’s my movie. Can you give me an awesome film distribution deal?”

This is the incorrect approach because it gives you no leverage or room for negotiation.

How To Get Film Distribution

The better approach would be to go into each distribution meeting knowing that you have more value to offer the distributor than just the quality of the film.

You achieve this by creating your marketing plan.

If you tell the distributor you have a marketing budget number, whether you fund it or they fund it, it ultimately helps the bottom line!


A successful film distribution deal requires reducing risk and increasing rewards for distributors. Focus on knowing your target audience, having a unique hook, and planning a marketing budget.

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Movie Distribution Terms

Here are some terms and phrases you should know when distributing a movie.

Distribution Deal: Agreement between a filmmaker and a distributor.

Target Audience: The specific group of people a film is intended to reach.

Hook: Unique selling proposition of a film that attracts audience interest.

Marketing Budget: Funds for promoting the film to get sales.

Movie Sales Strategy: The approach to selling a movie to its target market.

Potential Reward: The potential for return on investment.

Film Distribution: Making a film available to the audience.

Below are some questions I get asked about film distribution deals, along with their answers.

What is a film distribution deal?

A film distribution deal is an agreement between a filmmaker and a distributor to make the film available to the public.

Why is it important to know your target audience?

Understanding your movie’s target audience helps you adjust your marketing efforts, increasing the likelihood of your film’s success.

What is a hook in filmmaking?

Your movie hook is the one thing that makes your movie stand out in a sea of other movies.

How does having a marketing budget help in film distribution?

A marketing budget helps promote the film, increasing its visibility and potential success.

When should you start planning for film distribution?

Planning for film distribution should start as early as possible, ideally during the production phase.

Filmmaker Action Steps

To enhance your chances of securing a successful film distribution deal, consider taking the following action steps:

  1. Identify and research your target audience early in the filmmaking process.
  2. Develop a unique hook that distinguishes your film from others.
  3. Allocate a budget for marketing to enhance your film’s visibility.
  4. Plan your film distribution strategy during the production phase.
  5. Continuously refine your sales strategy to appeal to potential distributors.

The time to start planning your film distribution is today. Check out my film distribution training system.

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Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.