Our Screen to show Superman?

How good is the ‘OurScreen’ distribution platform? Review

May 10, 2018 8:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

OurScreen provides a service to allow audiences to select which films are chosen to screen at selective cinemas. I wanted to see how good this service was.

December 13th, 2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of the release of Donner’s Superman (1978) film in UK cinemas. To mark this event, I will be using the platform “ourscreen” in an attempt to put this back in to a screen of my choice, for one night only.

This will be a test of a platform that supports a type of self distribution:

ourscreen.com is the UK’s first cinema-on-demand platform, revolutionising how film fans, promoters & rights-holders engage with cinemas across the UK.

ourscreen offer preview, recent run and classic films from leading studios and distributors, as well as opening up new opportunities for theatre, comedy, sport, gaming, TV, and music in-cinema.

In three easy steps (pick a film, select a cinema, share your screening), anyone is able to create their own cinema screenings!

So how does ourscreen work?

Its a fairly simple concept, you select the film, cinema, date and time and then either a private or public showing.

A private screening is where you set a number of expected ticket sales and a price per ticket is then calculated. If you don’t sell the tickets, the showing doesn’t happen.

A public screening is open to the general public. Here, a price is set by ourscreen.com is a minimum number of tickets required to then confirm the booking. This is typically done 10 days before the screening. One example, is Robocop – this screening at Leicester Vue on 16th May 2018, would require 56 tickets, by 6th May 2018 in order to confirm the screening.

Although this give you time to sell tickets , it goes against the theories of a VIACOM study (2015) and my previous “Which is the best cinema seat” post. The VIACOM study, 3000 15-34 year old cinema goers, found that two-thirds of them chose what to see in the final few days in the lead up to the screening. This is also the case for ourscreen, whereby there is an increase in sales after the minimum amount has been met. Here, it is assumed that audiences want to see if the screening is actually going to take place.

So what’s in it for the distributor?

Well, in order to gain the license, ourscreen, offers the following:

  • No up front cost – this is great news for film makers, especially if they haven’t managed to get a traditional distribution deal and are looking at hiring cinemas for themselves in order to show their film.
  • A minimum guarantee (MG) – usually around £200 if the screening is going to happen, to the distributor or film maker, per screening
  • 30% of the income, after all payments have been paid – for example, shipping costs for DCP, payment handling charges…

Let’s take a look at an example:

  • The MG is set at £200 by the distributor.
  • Add in the hard costs – £500
  • The screen has a capacity of £100 and tickets cost £10 each
  • In order to break even, they need to each 50 tickets. Once 50 tickets are sold, then the screening will go ahead.
  • If the screening then sells at box office for £1000. The film maker is entitled to their MG and 30% of net sales (£1000 – £500 = £500 * 30% = £150), so they get £200 + £150 = £350.
  • This doesn’t take in to account VAT but gives a rough estimate.

So, who benefits?

With the rise of VOD – there’s definitely a market for audience let cinema screenings. The reality is that distributors and exhibitors have to work even harder in order to attract audiences away from their homes. Exhibitors also then benefit due to the increase in audiences – ie. popcorn, soft drinks, pic-n-mix etc.

So let’s give this a go shall we?

For this ‘experiment’ , I will be choosing Superman, public screening, December 13th and …. oh, wait a second – at the current moment Superman (1978) isn’t available through their site. However, there is hope – ourscreen.com offer a service whereby the organiser requests for the film to be shown. I am awaiting an update through their contact page (3/5/18).

Within their FAQ page, it does say that it does help if there are a number of people requesting the same film. Although I assume a few other may request Superman, I doubt that this is going to be the most popular. However, in my email I did explain the significant of the day release.

What if this this doesn’t work? There is an alternative – one way around this is to request the license from Park Circus and to hire / work in partnership with a local independent cinema. Anyway, let’s see what ourscreen come back with … I’ll keep you updated …

UPDATE 03 July 2018 – no reply from Our Screen and also have been informed that Superman (1978) is no longer available for license. So, it appears the power hasn’t truly shifted to the audience – just yet.

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This post was written by noxford

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