Sample Book Chapters

Chapter 13 - Prints-&-Ads Funds

   Chapter summaries in this section of the website are distilled from 139,000 words in the book.

   The independent-film sector buzzes about the availability of prints and advertising (P&A) funds, which are investment vehicles focused narrowly on covering marketing costs for theatrical releases. P refers to the prints, the bulky reels used by theaters to project films cost about $1,000 per movie to manufacture. A is the advertising expense for newspaper, television, and other media to support theatrical release. Ad expenses can range from a hundred thousand to millions of dollars for a true theatrical release.
   Marketing expenditures in the hundreds of thousands of dollars support theatrical releases that are in big cities but are short of a national release. At about the $5 million threshold, a national release is possible and should noticeably lift a film’s sales later in home video because of the halo effect.
   The theatrical campaign creates a familiarity with consumers and impresses video retailers, which give the title shelf space and good placement in online program guides.        
   P&A funding can be channeled to individual producers, who can use the funding as a bargaining chip to line up a film distributor; P&A can also go to distribution companies themselves that want outside financing, usually for a series of films. Funds generally hire at least one experienced Hollywood film marketing executive to provide trusted advice about applications for financing and to check that P&A funds are expended wisely.
   In the most substantial P&A transaction in recent years, MGM received $175 million in P&A financing in a deal administered by J. P. Morgan in late 2006. Regent Releasing concluded a P&A deal in 2007 from a multimilliondollar fund via investment house Merrill Lynch. A company called Proud Mary Entertainment helped arrange the financing. Among the recipients is Regent’s romantic comedy The Hottie and the Nottie.

   Text copyright © 2013, Robert Marich. All rights reserved. Used here with permission from SIU Press.
Relationship of High Box Office to Wide Theater Release 1998–2002
Box Office ($ mil.)
$100+            68
$75-99.9        27
$50-74.9        66
$30-49.9        79
$25-29.9        15
$20-24.9        16
$10-19.9        48
under $10      7
Note: Figures cover July 1998-March 2002 of all films reaching at least 2,000 screens at some point in their theatrical release
Source: Nielsen EDI, IMDB