The Going Rate


Woes for indie distributors never cease. Following a sparse market at Cannes in May, indie sellers hoped for a bit of an uplift at the American Film Market. But then came the economic bomb and credit crisis that could upset development and production plans, and leave a void in sales and marketing activities. In a dollar-up-and-down international market, there's fear that a credit crunch could spread around the world, thus curtailing sales, severely hurting prices, and crushing small- and medium-sized companies. Some analysts go so far as to say that some companies will go under if they don't have a good AFM.

Greatly troublesome, too, is the glut of films flooding the overseas market. Not only are the indies facing competition from the majors, but they are also up against a big increase in foreign homegrown films. Experts say that even indie films with the requisite commercial elements of star names, bankable directors, and big U.S. boxoffice are running into tough times.

Surprisingly, the estimated prices listed here have gone down only slightly at this time, but the intimidating "if" remains -- "if you can make a sale."

Holders of unsold "highly marginal" or "medium" titles are suggesting the possibility of offering them on a percentage basis rather than having the rights fade away in inventory.

As a broad guideline, The Hollywood Reporter offers a rundown of estimated prices for all rights to theatrical films. Suggested prices in different budget levels may overlap and may start higher or lower subject to negotiations and the film's value. The suggested price structure has no association with any industry organization.

Distribution consultant and former AFMA (now IFTA) chairman William Shields, Global Cinema Group president Peter Elson and Compliance Consulting president Rob Aft assisted in this analysis.