- Film distributor
A film distributor is a company or individual responsible for releasing films to the public either theatrically or for home viewing (DVD, Video-On-Demand, Download, Television programs through broadcast syndication etc.). A distributor may do this directly (if the distributor owns the theaters or film distribution networks) or through theatrical exhibitors and other sub-distributors.
If a distributor is working with a theatrical exhibitor, the distributor secures a written contract stipulating the amount of the gross ticket sales to be paid to the distributor by the exhibitor (usually a percentage of the gross) after first deducting a "floor", which is called a "house allowance" (also known as the "nut"), collects the amount due, audits the exhibitor's ticket sales as necessary to ensure the gross reported by the exhibitor is accurate, secures the distributor's share of these proceeds, and transmits the remainder to the production company (or to any other intermediary, such as a film release agent).
The distributor must also ensure that enough film prints are struck to service all contracted exhibitors on the contract-based opening day, ensure their physical delivery to the theater by the opening day, monitor exhibitors to make sure the film is in fact shown in the particular theatre with the minimum number of seats and show times, and ensure the prints' return to the distributor's office or other storage resource also on the contract-based return date. In practical terms, this includes the physical production of film prints and their shipping around the world (a process that is beginning to be replaced by digital distribution) as well as the creation of posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements, television commercials, trailers, and other types of ads.
Furthermore, the distributor is responsible for ensuring a full line of film advertising material is available on each film which it believes will help the exhibitor attract the largest possible audience, create such advertising if it is not provided by the production company, and arrange for the physical delivery of the advertising items selected by the exhibitor at intervals prior to the opening day.
If the distributor is handling an imported or foreign film, it may also be responsible for securing dubbing or subtitling for the film, and securing censorship or other legal or organizational "approval" for the exhibition of the film in the country/territory in which it does business, prior to approaching the exhibitors for booking. Depending on which studio that is distributing the film,the studio will either have offices around the world, by themselves or partnered with another studio, to distribute films in other countries. If a studio decides to partner with a native distributor, upon release both names will appear. The foreign distributor may license the film for a certain amount of time but the studio will ultimately retain the copyright of the film. 
Early distribution windows
Although there are numerous distribution techniques today, previous to the multi-channel transition, studios and networks did not experiment with different distribution processes. Studios believed that the new distribution methods would cause their old methods of revenue to be destroyed. Within time, the development of new distribution did prove to be beneficial. The studios revenue was gained from myriad distribution windows. These windows created many opportunities in the industry and allowed networks to make a profit and eliminate failure. These new distribution methods benefited audiences that were normally too small to reach and expanded the content of television. With the new age of technology, networks accepted the fact that it was a consumer demand industry and accepted the new models of distribution.
Home video distribution
Some distributors only handled home video distribution or some sub-set of home video distribution such as DVD and/or Blu-ray distribution. The remaining home video rights may be licensed by the producer to other distributors or the distributor may sub-license them to other distributors.
If a distributor is going to distribute a movie on a physical format such as DVD, they must arrange for the creation of the artwork for the case and the face of the DVD and arrange with a DVD replicator to create a glass master to press quantities of the DVD.
Today some movie producers are using a process called "DVD-on-Demand." In DVD-on-Demand, a company will burn a DVD-R (a process called "duplication") when a copy of the DVD is ordered, and then ship in to the customer.
A distributor must also contact wholesalers who sell and ship DVDs to brick-and-mortar retail stores as well as online stores, and arrange for them to carry the DVD. The distributor will also place ads in magazines and online and send copies of the DVD to reviewers.
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