Why Good Films Don't Just Sell Themselves

I found that it never was just the film that drove sales, but very much a cocktail of:

  • relationships that the sales company & its executives had (and their product flow),
  • the marketing support/strategy the sales company created,
  • the passion by which the sales company communicates to position the film,
  • the prestige or urgency by which the film is launched,
  • the prestige/popularity of the collaborators,
  • the quality of the film, and
  • the critical response to the film at the time it is released.

If films are not reaching traditional foreign sales percentages, does this indicate that your film is not what you think it is, your sales agency is not serving your film, or that the industry has significantly changed?

Can we even compare apples and oranges?  As another sales agent recently said to me: "It’s very dangerous to compare movie deals in that spectrum of films where none of the films are really comparable."

And of course there is a much bigger question: Is there even a foreign sales business for indie or art film when 30% of the market vanished last year (Italy, Japan, Spain, & Greece)?