Rank #1: The Business of Showing
In this final programme, Mark Kermode considers the business of showing films. The route from script to finance to screen can be a long one - but then it all comes down to one nervous opening weekend. Marketing may convince us of a film's merit but, one comment on social media can ruin even the most inventive campaign. Film festivals are vital for launching a film. The Autumn festival season is where artistic creators battle for the first showing of the most talked about films. For many independent film makers exposure through awards is seen as a crucial - or perhaps only - means of survival. The artistic director of the Toronto Film festival reveals how film makers plead with him to admit their films. The decline in DVD sales has led to nearly a halving of studio profits. Vincent Bruzzese runs a research entertainment firm and believes there is a disconnect between the film makers and the audience. By analysing data, it's possible to work out why a certain scene works. Hit on certain story tropes and a film will do well. Netflix and Amazon's are all about giving customers what they want. Their algorithms are set to challenge the studios' dominance. How long is it until the streaming services become major studios themselves? Meanwhile, the growth of cinema multiplexes have paved the way for boutique cinemas and the notion of the film as an event. Audiences today are engaging with films in very different ways, so how do UK cinemas make most of their money? Producers: Barney Rowntree and Nick Jones A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.
Rank #2: Getting to the Screen
Close to 700 movies opened in the UK last year. Blockbusters, franchises, documentaries, debuts, experiments, low-budget indies and beyond. It's never been easier to make a film and it's said there is an audience for everything. But what is the likely size of that audience? In the second part of this series, film critic Mark Kermode talks to the film financiers and the distributors. According to the head of Film Four, David Kosse, the film industry is a "break-even business" - the trick is to identify a winner and ensure it's not just a one off. The independent film world - most of the British film industry - spreads the risk of making a film across independent distributors, equity financiers and other tax benefits. We hear from the BFI, Film Four and BBC Films on what films they are looking to finance. Since the early days of film, rich outsiders have financed the industry. Now, producers who don't fit the studio model are looking to a multitude of ways to finance their film - from crowdfunding to rich kids with cheque books. Director Shane Carruth tells how he distributed his film Upstream Color himself, road-showing cinema screenings and bringing the film out on Blu-ray. And with much talk of Video on Demand, what role will Netflix and Amazon play in the future of film? Marketing is crucial to the life and death of a movie but it remains the one hard cost in moviemaking. The trailer can be of vital importance and we hear what we respond to and what scenes should be left out. Producers: Barney Rowntree and Nick Jones A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.
Rank #3: Development Hell
Film critic Mark Kermode reveals the economic realities behind the film industry. In the first part of the series, Mark finds out about the journey from script to screen - a path littered with obstacles. Many films languish in so-called "Development Hell", where producers turn in scripts, listen to conflicting opinions and resubmit their storylines hoping for a magical green light. Some will make it, such as Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin which took 13 years to get to the screen. Others, like Lynda Obst's film about an Ebola outbreak in the late 1980s, may finally see the light of day, in some form, twenty years on. Away from the art and artifice lie the financial barriers to getting a film made. For some, the movie industry in 2015 is little more than the 'branded carnival business'. The Hollywood studio system seeks success, replication, and reliability. Has an industry that was built by risk takers now become risk averse? Independent movie makers struggle to raise the finance for their films while the big studios produce movies that they know will turn a profit. We hear from the BFI, Channel 4 and BBC Films on the support they are offering. Experts within film finance describe their model, but Lock Stock and Kick Ass producer Matthew Vaughn, who has turned a profit on every film he has made, believes there is no such thing as a British film industry and movies should not be subsidised with tax breaks, adding that the industry is just a 'glamorised service provider'. Producers: Barney Rowntree and Nick Jones A Hidden Flack production for Radio 4.