How Much Can My Film Make?

Are you wondering if you can make money from your film?

Are you wondering if you can make money from your film?

Simone, in New Mexico writes:

“Hi, I was able to scrape up around $50,000 for my romantic comedy I was just wondering what kind of return could I get for my money? I know you do projections. Is there anyway you could give me a ballpark number?”

Simone, sure. Why not. I will give you the potential for return.

As with any art project you are counting on many factors to work in your favor. Many times these factors change that will skew these numbers. With that said, I ran your budget of $50,000 in my projection program, taking into account that your film would get released in Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa the Middle East, Asia, South America and North America. Even a small Independent distributor can get you that exposure.

What I did was average out the high and low from the projections and came up with a number of around $140,000. Based on an HD, Indie film with no names in your cast.

Things to Keep in Mind When Developing a Film Budget

  • Recoupable costs from the distributor would have to be paid out of that money as well as any lab fees and promotion or service fees.
  • You also will have costs to fix your film to pass the QC Report, such as editing or fixing audio.
  • More Importantly, you should take into account that you need to market your film through social media.
  • Just because a distributor buys your film, doesn’t mean your job is done. You are responsible for the marketing. Similar to book authors, publishers don’t plug their book. You need to keep exposing your product to the public.
  • You might want to take out $2000 a year for at least three years to do social media marketing (the first three years are the most important and when you recoup the bulk of your return). So, say $2000 year for three years that would be $6000 on marketing.
  • Then you minus in the distributors 30% cut (usually a 70/30 deal), for 7 years. (You get 70% & they get 30%)
  • You take that number of $140,000 -30% for the distributor equals -$42,000 minus $6000 for social media promotion and let’s say minus another $5000 for Lab Work to pass the QC Report.
  • You have a debit of around -$53,000.
  • Out of that $140,000 -$53,000 would go to the Distributor/Lab and Marketing. That would leave you around $87,000 for your seven-year deal.
  • Royalty checks from distributors are always paid quarterly. You get four checks per year.

If you actively do social media marketing and you work with your distributor you can turn a profit on your $50,000 film.

Without doing any marketing that return would be far less! If you do it correctly your $50k film can make you around $12,000 a year for seven years! A great return!

Thanks for the question, Simone!

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