Why 86 Percent Of Filmmakers Don’t Trust Film Distributors – Glen Reynolds

Film Courage: We posted a poll on our Youtube community tab and the question was do you trust film distributors? The poll received about 8,000 or so votes and 85 percent of those polled said they do not trust distributors. Now, we didn’t ask them in what capacity they’ve dealt with them. Where do you think this negative reputation stems from? 

Glen Reynolds, Founder of Circus Road Films:  It all goes to the failure rate of films and I think that some distributors oversell what will happen to films in order to get them, not all, but some do. I think it goes to expectations of just getting a distribution deal and thinking Hey, I’m done. It’s going to make money. I think that’s part of it. I think it’s frustrating to have gatekeepers to the public. There’s so many things coming out of a dollar before it gets to you as the filmmaker because someone buys the film on iTunes. iTunes is taking 30 percent right? That’s 70 is going to your distributor. Your distributor is taking 25 percent and costs. When they get by costs, then they’re paying you at that point. There’s a lot of international sales, your international sales company is taking 20 percent. They’re putting it with a distributor overseas who is going to take their percentage. That distributor is putting it on a digital platform that’s going to put it and make money in Germany or wherever. There’s three steps before it gets to you. You do have the ability to go put the film on digital platforms yourself. There are labs that have kind of aggregator (kind of call themselves aggregators) although I think the word aggregator is kind of a strange word for it but all they really do is facilitating placing the film on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, etc. and there you’re paying them the cost of encoding the film for the platform. But they’re not taking the percentage at all so your iTunes is taking 30 percent and you’re getting 70 percent. Maybe some films should do that because it’s a small film and they can push people to watch on iTunes and then they reap what they sow. The reason people go to distributors as opposed to doing it themselves is distributors can get to more platforms than these labs can. There are some platforms that require a pitch. To get a film on In Demand, DirecTV, Dish, etc. you need someone to go and pitch the movie to them and then when it comes out on iTunes and Amazon, etc. the release date is going to be the same for those platforms…(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. 








Advertisement – contains affiliate links 

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)


More affiliates:

Camera we use for interviews – https://buff.ly/3rWqrra

Sound we use for interviews – https://amzn.to/2tbFlM9

Writers, try Final Draft free for 30-days – https://ow.ly/Gz4w30rDSKt

Other books on Amazon that Film Courage recommends – https://buff.ly/3o0oE5o