What are 3-4 things that help films "break out"?

Among the other questions I am frequently asked are "What are 3-4 things that would help your film break out?"

  1. Unique content and approach;
  2. High profile supporters & participants;
  3. Participants that are highly active and committed to social media;
  4. An already aggregated and identified participatory audience/community base; and
  5. A detailed media/marketing strategy that is built and intiated from the start of prep, through production, post, and festival periods, and then into release.

I wish ambition,originality, and quality of execution would help films break out more, but I don’t think it is the case, alas...  I think we can change this if we truly want to.  How great would it be if we actually discussed films more about their content than about their performance; the latter then would be effected much more by the former.  It is a challenge for all members of the community, creators and audience members alike.

I also wish that money did not help films break out as much as it does.  I wish that instead of box office, that in terms of business we followed films more on their Return On Investment.  We don't even track this in terms of the industry.  We have no transparency as towards spend and what we get in terms of return is decidedly fudged.  Other countries make box office receipts a matter of public record (France), but what about all the platforms.  If we knew what our work actually made, wouldn't it have a positive effect on what we made?