What Filmmakers Don’t Understand About Distribution – Glen Reynolds

Glen Reynolds, Founder of Circus Road Films: And in those cases many filmmakers just don’t understand what they’re getting into, they think I’ve got a distributor, my life is saved, my film is going to make a lot of money and they’re going to market it.

Film Courage: This is a hard topic for us to bring up but I’m hoping maybe you can clear up some misconceptions. We often hear that filmmakers aren’t making money from distribution deals but at the same time we hear that you can make great money working in distribution? Can you help us understand here?

Glen: Well, yes. In my opinion most people aren’t making money from distribution because most films just don’t work because the public didn’t decide to click on your movie, they didn’t buy a ticket. There’s just a lot more content being created by the streamers and by studios and we’ve got other ways of entertaining ourselves in movies these days, games and TikTok and whatever that’s there’s just not a lot of as much demand compared to the supply at the end of the day. Distributors are in the job of taking a certain number of films a year. They know that some are going to work. They know by experience not all of them are going to work and they’re going to do about the same thing on every film, maybe treating one a little better, a little bit more PNA [Prints and Advertising], more advertising dollars behind it in order to make it work and they’re going to take each one out and if one doesn’t work, if it didn’t work in theatrical and/or transactional VOD like iTunes and Amazon where people can rent and buy it, it didn’t work there, they’re still going to try to sell it to…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Glen Reynolds founded Circus Road Films in 2006 to provide strategic advisory services to filmmakers. Circus Road guides filmmakers through the festival and distribution process and negotiates licensing agreements on their behalf. Glen has participated in the sales of over 900 narrative and documentary feature films with many of them premiering at Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Cinequest, Tribeca, Hot Docs, Fantastic, Telluride and Toronto. Distributors of these films include Fox, Sony, Warner Bros, Universal, Lions Gate, Magnolia, IFC, Strand, Oscilloscope, Drafthouse, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Lifetime, ESPN and Syfy.   Some favorite films sold include the first films of some successful filmmakers such as Absentia, written and directed by Mike Flanagan (Midnight Mass); Pop Skull, written and directed by Adam Wingard (Godzilla vs Kong); and Newlyweeds, written and directed by Shaka King. (Judas and the Black Messiah).   Recent work includes Clean (Tribeca/IFC) with Adrien Brody, My Dead Dad and 18½ with Willa Fitzgerald (101 Films).   Glen has also co-produced twenty films to date including his favorite Conversations with Other Women which premiered at Telluride and stars Aaron Eckhart, Helena Bonham Carter, and Olivia Wilde.  Other great production experiences include developing two projects with Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and co-producing five films with Ram Bergman (Knives Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi).   Glen holds a JD from the University of Texas at Austin, a BA in English from NYU and is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. He serves as a judge for the UCLA Screenwriting Competition and on the jury for the Woods Hole Film Festival. 






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