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Film Distribution

A film distributor is an independent company, a subsidiary company or occasionally an individual, which acts as the final agent between a film production company or some intermediary agent, and a film exhibitor, to the end of securing placement of the producer's film on the exhibitor's screen. In the film business, the term "distribution" refers to the marketing and circulation of movies in theaters.

The primary agenda of the distributor is to convince the exhibitor to rent, or "book", each film. To this end the distributor may arrange a private screening for the exhibitor, or use other marketing techniques that will make the exhibitor believe he will profit financially by showing the film. Once this is accomplished, the distributor then secures a written contract stipulating the amount of the gross ticket sales to be paid to the distributor, collect the amount due, audit the exhibitor's ticket sales as necessary to ensure the gross reported by the exhibitor is accurate, secure the distributor's share of these proceeds, and transmit the remainder to the production company (or to any other intermediary, such as a film release agent).

The distributor must also ensure that enough film prints are struck to service all contracted exhibitors on the contract-based opening day, ensure their physical delivery to the theater by the opening day, and ensure the prints' return to the distributor's office or other storage resource also on the contract-based return date. In practical terms, this includes the physical production of film prints and their shipping around the world (a process that may soon be replaced by digital distribution) as well as the creation of posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements, television commercials, and other types of ads.

Furthermore, the distributor is responsible for ensuring a full line of film advertising material is available on each film which it believes will help the exhibitor attract the largest possible audience, create such advertising if it is not provided by the production company, and arrange for the physical delivery of the advertising items selected by the exhibitor at intervals prior to the opening day.

If the distributor is handling an imported or foreign-language film, it may also be responsible for securing dubbing or subtitling for the film, and securing censorship or other legal or organizational "approval" for the exhibition of the film in the country/territory in which it does business, prior to approaching the exhibitors for booking.

This is an incomplete and general overview. The actual practices of film distributors may vary from this model at different points in time during the history of film, and according to different national business practices affecting film distribution. Thus, a full explication of this topic must account for all periods and nations since the beginning of film, or limit itself to the study of specific times and lands.

In the days of the classical Hollywood cinema, the studios used the studio system, producing and distributing their own films to theatres that they also owned — a practice known as vertical integration. The studios' control over distribution was greatly weakened in the U.S. when, in 1948, the court case United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. forced the major studios to sell all their theaters. Today, major studios and independent production companies alike compete for screens in theaters.

A list of United States Motion Picture Distributors

* A.F.E. Corp.
* A.F. Films Inc.
* Academy Pictures Distributing Corp.
* Academy Productions Inc.
* Action Pictures Inc.
* Ajax Pictures Corp.
* Ajay Film Co.
* All American News Inc.
* Allied Films Inc.
* Allied Pictures Corp.
* American Committee to Aid Armenia Inc.
* American Pictures Corp.
* American International Film Distributing Corp. (AIP)
* American Releasing Corp. (ARC)
* American Tobis Corp.
* American-Egyptian Film Co.
* Amkino Corp.
* Arthur Mayer and Joseph Burstyn Inc.
* Arthur Mayer-Edward Kingsley Inc.
* Arias Quality Pictures Inc.
* Arlan Pictures Inc.
* Artclass Pictures Corp.
* Artists-Producers Associates Inc.
* Artkino Pictures Inc.
* Associated Artists Productions Inc. (a.a.p.)
* Associated Cinemas of America Inc.
* Associated Film Releasing Corp.
* Astor Pictures Corp.
* Atlantic Pictures Corp.
* Azteca Films Inc.
* Baker, Sam, Associates
* Baker's Wife Inc., The
* Bakros International Films Inc.
* Banner Pictures Inc.
* Beacon Productions Inc.
* Beaumont Pictures Inc.
* Bell Pictures Corp.
* Best Film Co.
* Big 4 Film Corp.
* Brandon Films Inc.
* Brenner, Joseph, Associates Inc.
* Buena Vista Film Distributing Co. Inc.
* Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises Inc.
* Burstyn, Joseph, Inc.
* Cairo Film Co.
* Capitol Film Exchange Inc.
* Capitol Foreign Attractions Inc.
* Carroll Pictures Inc.
* Casino Film Exchange Inc.
* Casolaro Distributing Co.
* Cavalcade Pictures Inc.
* Central Cinema Corp.
* Cine-Classics Inc.
* Cine-Lux Inc.
* Cinexport Distributing Co.
* Cinema Service Corp.
* Cinerama Releasing Corp.
* Clasa-Mohme Inc.
* Classic Pictures Inc.
* Cohen, Leo
* Colony Pictures Inc.
* Columbia Pictures Corp.
* Commander Pictures Inc.
* Commercial Pictures Inc.
* Commodore Pictures Corp.
* Conn Pictures Corp.
* Conquest Pictures Co.
* Continental Distributing (A Division Of Walter Reade-Sterling Inc.)
* Continental Motion Pictures Corp.
* Continental Pictures Inc.
* Continental Talking Pictures Corp.
* Crescent Pictures Corp.
* Crest Films Inc.
* Crown Pictures Inc.
* Crystal Pictures Inc.
* Danubia Pictures Inc.
* Davis, Arthur, Associates
* de Rochemont, Louis, Associates
* Discina International Films Corp.
* Distinguished Films Inc.
* Distributors Corporation of America (DCA)
* Dominant Pictures Corp.
* DuWorld Pictures Inc.
* Eagle Lion Films Inc.
* Eagle Lion Classics Inc.
* Eden Distributing Co.
* Ellis Films Inc.
* Empire Film Distributors Inc.
* English Films Inc.
* Esperia Film Distributing Co.
* Eureka Productions Inc.
* European Copyrights and Distributing Inc. (E.C.D.I.)
* Excelsior Pictures Corp.
* Exploitation Pictures Inc.
* Famous International Film Corp.
* Favorite Films Corp.
* Film Alliance of the U.S. Inc.
* Film Classics Inc.
* Film Polski Inc.
* Film Renters Inc.
* Film Representations Inc.
* Films-Around-The-World Inc.
* Films International of America Inc.
* Films of India Inc.
* Filmgroup Inc., The
* Filmservice Distributing Corp.
* Fine Arts Films Inc.
* First Anglo Corp.
* First Division Pictures Inc.
* Foreign Cinema Arts Inc.
* Four Continents Films Inc.
* Fox Film Corp.
* Foy Productions Ltd.
* French Motion Picture Corp.
* Freuler Film Associates Inc.
* Garrison Film Distributors Inc.
* Gaumont British Picture Corp. of America
* General Foreign Sales Corp.
* Germania Film Co.
* Giglio Film Distributing Co.
* Globe Distributing Co.
* Globe Film Co.
* Globe Film Distributors Inc.
* Golgotha Corp.
* Goodwill Pictures Inc.
* Governor Films Inc.
* Grand National Films Inc.
* Grand Prize Films Inc.
* Grandi Film Distributing Co.
* Grecian Film Center
* Greek Motion Pictures Inc.
* Grovas-Mohme Inc.
* Guaranteed Pictures Inc.
* Hallmark Productions Inc.
* Headline Pictures Corp.
* Helbanco Moving Picture Distributors Inc.
* Hellenic Distributing Corp.
* High Art Pictures Corp.
* Hoffberg Productions Inc.
* Hoffberg, J. H., Co. Inc.
* Hollywood Pictures Corp.
* Howco Productions Inc.
* Hungaria Pictures Inc.
* Hyperion Films Inc.
* I.F.E. Releasing Corp.
* Ideal Pictures Corp.
* Imperial Distributing Corp.
* Imperial Film Distributors of America
* Independent Releasing Org.
* Indiedocs
* Inter-World Films Inc.
* International Film Associates Corp.
* International Releasing Org.
* International Theatrical & Television Corp.
* Irish American Film Corp.
* Jacon Film Distributors
* Janus Films Inc.
* Jay-Dee-Kay Productions Inc.
* Jewel Productions Inc.
* Jewish Talking Picture Co. Inc.
* Juno Films Inc.
* Kent, Willis
* Kinematrade Inc.
* Kinopol Inc.
* Kinotrade Inc.
* Kramer-Hyams Films Inc.
* Lenauer International Films Inc.
* Leo Films Inc.
* Lewis, Martin J., Productions
* Liberty Pictures Corp.
* Lippert Pictures Inc.
* Lopert Films Distributing Corp.
* Lux Film Distribution Corp.
* MGM-UA Distributing Co.
* Madison Pictures Inc.
* Magna Theatres Corp.
* Manson Distributing Co.
* Mascot Pictures Corp.
* Master Film Distributors Inc.
* Masterpiece Productions Inc.
* Maya Film Distributing Corp.
* Mayfair Pictures Corp.
* Meadow, Noel, Associates
* Mercury Pictures Corp.
* Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (MGM)
* Metropolis Pictures Corp.
* Metropolitan Pictures Corp.
* Mexican Film Enterprises Inc.
* Micheaux Film Corp.
* Middle East Film Corp.
* Modern Film Corp.
* Monogram Pictures Corp.
* Motion Picture Sales Corp.
* Moviegraphs Inc.
* N.T.A. Pictures Inc.
* New Era Film Exchange Inc.
* Normandy Pictures Corp.
* Norton, Frank
* Nuovo Mondo Motion Pictures Inc.
* Olympic Pictures Corp.
* Oriental Film Co.
* Oxford Films Inc.
* Pacemaker Pictures Inc.
* Passion River Films
* Pathe Exchanges Inc.
* Pax Film Inc.
* Peerless Productions Inc.
* Peerless Pictures Corp.
* Pic Film Inc.
* Picture Classics Inc.
* Pinnacle Productions Inc.
* Pol-Ton Film Co.
* Polish American Film Corp.
* Powers Pictures Inc.
* Praga Film Co.
* Premier Pictures Co.
* Principal Distributing Corp.
* Protex Pictures Corp.
* Producers Distributing Corp. (PDC)
* Producers Releasing Corp. (PRC)
* Producers Representatives Inc.
* Progressive Pictures Corp.
* Puritan Pictures Corp.
* Rank Film Distributors of America Inc.
* Rashid, Albert
* Rathner, Harry
* Realart Pictures Inc.
* Releasing Corp. of Independent Producers (RCIP)
* Renard, Fred O.
* Republic Pictures Corp. (1935-1959)
* Republic Pictures Corp. (1984-2004)
* Resolute Pictures Corp.
* Riback, Walter
* Ring Film Corp.
* Roadshow Attractions Co.
* Rogers and Unger Associates
* S&G Foreign Films Ltd.
* Sack Amusement Corp.
* Saga Films Inc.
* Savoy Films Corp.
* Scalera Films Inc.
* Scandia Films Inc.
* Scandinavian Talking Pictures Inc.
* Schaefer, George J.
* Schlaifer, Jack, Org.
* Screen Guild Productions Inc.
* Screencraft Pictures Inc.
* Security Pictures Corp.
* Select Attractions Inc.
* Selznick Releasing Org. (SRO)
* Showmen's Pictures Inc.
* Simpex Company Inc.
* Siritzky-International Pictures Corp.
* Snader Productions Inc.
* Sono Art - World Wide Pictures Inc.
* Specialty Pictures Corp.
* Sphinx Films Corp.
* Stage and Screen Productions Inc.
* Stanley Distributing Corp.
* Star Film Co. (Melies)
* Star Film Co. (Starszewski)
* Steven F. Zambo Productions, Inc.
* Steiner, William
* Stratford Pictures Corp.
* Sunset Film Corp.
* Superfilm Distributing Corp.
* Superior Talking Pictures Inc.
* Supreme Pictures Corp.
* Talking Picture Epics Inc.
* Tiffany Productions Inc.
* Times Film Corp.
* Tobis Forenfilms Inc.
* Tohan Pictures Inc.
* Toddy Pictures Co.
* Topaz Film Co.
* Tower Productions Inc.
* Trans-Lux Distributing Corp.
* Transcontinental Pictures Corp.
* Tricolore Films Inc.
* Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
* Ufa Films Inc.
* United Artists Corp.
* United German Film Ents.
* United Motion Picture Org.
* Universal Pictures Co. Inc.
* Valiant Films Corp.
* Vedis Films Inc.
* Vesuvio Film Co.
* Victory Pictures Corp.
* Viennese Film Co.
* Vigor Motion Picture Corp.
* Vinod International Films Inc.
* Visual Drama Inc.
* Vog Film Co.
* Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
* Western Film Exchange
* Wilson, Chelly
* World Documentary Inc.
* World Pictures Corp.
* World Wide Pictures Inc.
* Worldkino Corp.
* Zenith Films Inc.
* Ziehm, Arthur, Inc.
* Zwicker, Bruno, Inc.

 film distribution, movie distribution, entertainment distribution