First-Ever Survey of Specialty Films and Financing Complete

by | February 24, 2010 | Uncategorized

Jeremy Juuso Consulting has completed the first year of its ongoing survey of the U.S. specialty film market and its financing traits.

Defined as any film released into 1,000 U.S. movie theaters or fewer on opening weekend, specialty films are comprised primarily of independent films with no studio ties.

Summary statistics for the 2009 U.S. specialty market are available to the public in “The A.K.A. Report” at

Individual statistics on over 400 films are also available to the public at the same web address.

Findings about the 2009 U.S. specialty market include the following:

—– 403 films were released, excluding reissues and the Academy-nominated short films compilation.

—– 43 involved studio financing.

—– 38% were private equity financed (i.e., private equity comprised more than 70% of the budget).

—– 18% were distributor financed (i.e., at least one distributor or its parent company supplied more than 30% of the budget).

—– 12% were private equity driven (i.e., private equity comprised 30%-60% of the budget).

—– 10% were European government supported as part of an international coproduction.

—– No overlap exists among the previous four categories.

—– 137 films (34%) had at least one star, where a star is an actor who previously was a lead in at least one feature grossing $50 million or more domestically.

—– The average budget for star films released during Q1-Q3 2009 was estimated at $7.9 million (excluding P&A), with an average box office of $1.8 million for these same films.

—– The average budget for non-star films released during Q1-Q3 was estimated at $3.6 million (excluding P&A), with an average box office of $1.0 million for these same films.

—– Less than 15% of specialty films released in Q1-Q3 generated 90% of box office revenues for specialty films released in Q1-Q3.

—– Late Q4 releases are still accruing significant box office receipts.

—– 344 films (85%) debuted at a film festival prior to U.S. theatrical release.

—– The top debuted-at festivals were Sundance (64 films), Toronto (43), Cannes (37), Berlin (21), Tribeca (19), Venice (17), SXSW (13), Slamdance (7), and Telluride (6).

—– 95 other film festivals had less than 6 films represented.

—– 113 specialty films (28%) had hired producer’s reps to attain and/or negotiate their domestic distribution agreements.

—– The producer’s reps did not represent the films in the majority of foreign markets, if any.

—– Among the films released, CAA had been hired as a producer’s rep on 21 films, Cinetic Media on 20, Submarine Entertainment on 17, William Morris on 14, Endeavor on 11, and ICM on 8.

Further details on distributors, self-distribution, foreign sales agents, genres and languages, and day-and-date VOD can be found in “The A.K.A. Report” at