Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

CASE STUDY: TB'S Studio Series - An Analysis of the Major Movie Studios in 2016

For entertainment industry junkies who see the value in understanding the major movie studios, Neil Turitz has done us a big favor by writing a great series at the Tracking Board called "The Studio Series."  With the Studio Series, Turitz analyzes each major movie studio in 2016 to assess their strategies as well as what they are doing right and wrong.  Whether you're just a movie fan who likes digging deep into the industry that makes the film he loves or a filmmaker trying to figure out where to pitch her next film, the analysis below will be sure to inform.

STX Entertainment and Studio 8

  • To break into the film distribution business on the higher budget side seems like a fools errand. But if you’re Robert Simonds and Adam Fogelson at STX Entertainment, and Jeff Robinov at Studio 8, then you’re not thinking in exactly those terms. On the contrary, you’re thinking you can take on the system and win.

A24, Open Road and Roadside Attractions

  • A look at three of the more successful smaller distributors, Roadside Attractions, A24, and Open Road, the latter two of which won the top prizes for feature films at this year’s Oscars, Best Documentary Feature and Best Picture, respectively.

FOX Searchlight

  • Winning a Best Picture trophy doesn’t happen very often. Even rarer is winning two in a row, and yet that’s what Fox Searchlight just did in 2014 and 2015 with 12 Years a Slave and Birdman. Consider, also, that the company has either released a Best Picture nominee or a film that won another major Oscar each year since 2006, and in several years, it has done both. That’s a nice run, but it might very well end in 2016.

Netflix and Amazon

  • Not your typical movie studio. But still players in the game.

Weinstein Company

  • In 2016, The Weinstein Company has grossed $54.8 million domestically, but almost $50 million of that came from The Hateful Eight and Carol, which means that the four movies released by the company thus far this year have combined for under $5 million domestically. Yes, things may be down at TWC, but no one in Hollywood dares to bet against Bob and Harvey.

Focus Features

  • If there is an ideal situation for a film company to inhabit, it would probably be some sort of self-sufficiency combined with the infrastructure of a larger operation. Basically, the exact situation Focus Features has.


  • Last summer the Paramount executives would have scoffed at the idea that the studio’s highest grossing film of 2016 thus far would be a Will Ferrell comedy released on Christmas Day. Of the previous year. (But that's the situation they find themselves in ~~ DJ)

Sony Pictures

  • To say that Sony’s film division has had a bit of a tough go lately might be an understatement. The email hack, the terrorist threat against The Interview, and a failure to clear the billion dollar mark in domestic grosses in 2015. But look a little closer, and it’s not necessarily as dire as it might appear.


  • When you’re a smaller studio without the resources of one of the Big Six your attitude and strategy has to be a bit different from the norm. And since Lionsgate is now in the crosshairs, it’s time to talk about that strategy, as well as what happens when it doesn’t work out so well.

Warner Bros.

  • Despite the relative failure of Batman v Superman, do not yet abandon hope, all ye who enter. The calendar still holds some possibility that 2016 won’t be a total disaster.

20th Century Fox

  • Twentieth has had an interesting year so far, with highs like Deadpool, not-so-highs like X-Men: Apocalypse, and the announcement that Stacey Snider will be taking over the reins at the studio. With nearly a dozen movies left on the schedule, including this week’s Independence Daysequel, can Fox still pull off a resurgence in 2016?

Disney (+ Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar)

  • Disney is primed to obliterate every record out there (it already beat the one for fastest to $1B, which it did in just 128 days), and even with a change in leadership in the offing, there are plenty of reasons to think that upward trend will continue apace for some time. 

  • Why was the first half of last year so much better than this year for Universal? That’s easy: this year doesn’t have the ferocious combination of Furious 7Fifty Shades of Grey and Pitch Perfect 2. This is part one of our weekly series analyzing the current state of the studios.
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PRODUCTION TIPS: Build Your Brand by Creating A Production Company Mindmap

Love him or hate him, Walt Disney's success can not be denied. His creativity extended beyond his artistry and into the realms of business.

Behold this extraordinary mindmap attributed to Disney from 1957 (and color-coded by ZillionDesigns).

Notice how varied the businesses of Walt Disney Productions are and how they intersect and compliment each other. The different business arms not only serve legal, taxation and logistical purposes BUT also marketing, branding and intellectual property purposes. For example, the TV department doesn't just meet the legal and business purposes of "paying off the cost of own film" it also "publicizes the products of the music division."

Any producer out there starting a production company (even with one film) would benefit greatly from contemplating on Disney's mindmap and thinking about he or she can also map the strategy for their project in a similar way. Obviously, that indie producer's mindmap would be much more modest and with much less divisions/departments but the point of doing a mindmap for your production company is to integrate all the different ways and purposes of your projects. Consider that the indie production company film could have outlets (or divisions/departments) in publications or TV let alone on social media and video sharing websites. If you look at your production as a project with multiple outlets (or divisions/departments) to tap into then you increase your project's potential for exposure and exploitation which would improve your odds of success.

For further exploration into what Disney can teach you about building your brand and how interaction can achieve the following: 1) Make customers happy. 2) Increase brand loyalty. 3) Increase customer retention. 4) Spread positive word of mouth. 5) Reduce marketing costs in the long run. 6) Help in crises management. Click here.

For advice on how to put together your film production strategy and make it work across different mediums, contact me at


Last week was an off-week for The Film Strategist so my apologies but had to focus on some important work. Now I'm back so stay tuned for some interesting upcoming posts including your Monday and Midweek mixers.

On November 18, 1928 – The animated short Steamboat Willie was released.  This was the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and featured the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is also considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey's birthday.  The short was such a success that it propelled Disney to international stardom.

Now, what I want to know is when will Steamboat Willie and other works of that era finally fall in the public domain?  Because it should've happened a while ago already. But as Timothy B. Lee makes clear, "15 years ago [on October 25], President Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which retroactively extended copyright protection. As a result, the great creative output of the 20th century, from Superman to "Gone With the Wind" to Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue," were locked down for an extra 20 years.
The copyright extension Clinton signed will expire in five years. Copyright holders like the Disney Corp. and the Gershwin estate have a strong incentive to try to extend copyright extension yet further into the future. But with the emergence of the Internet as a political organizing tool, opponents of copyright extension will be much better prepared. The question for the coming legislative battle on copyright is who will prevail: those who would profit from continuing to lock up the great works of the 20th century, or those who believe Bugs Bunny should be as freely available for reuse as Little Red Riding Hood."

I'm with the folks who want the works in the public domain.  The original creators are long dead so there is no "incentive" to create for them.  It limits the possibility of artists to create something new and interesting with the works (unless it's paid for and approved by the current copyright holders.  Also, it removes any incentives for the current copyright holders to create since they are just relying on what their forebears made.  Finally, it's a shame that there are less famous and even "lost" orphaned works wound up in the web of copyright extension that can't be discovered by a new audience because they are not in the public domain and the actual copyright holders are untraceable. 

Here's to a new day for the public domain on January 1, 2019.

WRITING: What can you learn about screenwriting breaking down the script for the Sylvester Stallone / Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie, Escape Plan?

PRODUCING: What are the top market trends gleaned from AFM that you should know about?

FINANCING: Why are more and more independents, instead of studios, financing middle-budget movies like Ted, The Wolf on Wall St. and American Hustle?

DIRECTING: What can you learn about having a long filmmaking career from Sylvester Stallone? No, seriously, he's done something right, considering that his first move in film was acting in a softcore porno yet he's almost 70 and still working.

SHOOTING: What's the difference between avchd and h.264?

LIGHTING: What was DP Colton Davie's experience shooting and lighting the short, The Whistler, on ALEXA?

SOUND: How do you digitally treat a voice?

STUNTS & FX: What are some DIY art direction tips to heed?

EDITING: What are some of the tools you can use to fake slow-motion in post production?

MARKETING:  When the art of the movie poster goes to shit, artists appear to rectify the situation.  Dare to market your film with a bold poster.

DISTRIBUTION: Can a grassroots cooperative for distributing films really work?

LEGAL: Gordon Firemark answers the following question, can you use another film's title or scenes in your screenplay?

The COVID-19 “Get Back to Filmmaking” Checklist

The COVID-19 “Get Back to Filmmaking” Checklist A 40-point checklist from development to post-production   by Danny Jiminian