Investing In Silver Screens

Recently reading the Theatrical Market Statistics for film in 2015 I was reassured that now is the time to invest in film! It’s a remarkable thing to say as just a few years back no one - and I mean no one - would touch film as a viable investment opportunity. Now, however, there are more banks financing film and television projects and more private money rushing to get in on the cash cow than ever! There’s so much money in fact that it outweighs the amount of quality talent available! The theatrical box office numbers are up a staggering 5% to $38 billion...yes, that’s with a "B" in 2015. On top of that, there is a rush to bankroll projects with budgets in the neighborhood of $20-$80 million. Which sounds great, though one has to wonder when looking into the numbers if chasing the big powerhouse budgets are the best way to go for film investors... 

Consider the U.S/Canada Box Office & Admission numbers annually. 3D (which the majority of current large budget films are producing in) remains stagnant at 15% of the market share after peaking briefly in 2009-2010 during the re-discovery of the 3D fan fare. These two markets had box office results totaling $11.1 billion in 2015 and 85%,or $9.4 billion, of the market share was generated from films that relied on the story not the effects. So how do these blockbuster budgets confuse the investor process when such a larger yield goes to non 3D films? It is the allure of bigger being better and the hopes that big budget will equal big effects, big audience and big returns! Right? 

Well not always and here is the problem. There’s so much (pardon my expression) crap being made that, in this saturation, many large scale projects are rushed to release, over-hyped and fall short of consumer expectations compared to the last film that tried to blow them out of their seat. Many will struggle to or will not be able to pay back their investors, let alone make any money as a production company after all is said and done. Current trends, numbers and consumer feedback continues to demand a good story, no matter how the industry wants to dress it up. If a production company doesn’t care about the story they are telling, then they won’t care about how they spend the money they’ve been entrusted with.  

Here at Anvil Springs Entertainment, we strive to create projects with meaning. Projects that carry a message to it’s audiences and that will have a lasting impact not only on box office returns, but on our investor’s bottom line. Our first concern - obviously - is the quality of the project and that it gets done on time and on budget and that our investors walk away so happy that they’ll want to reinvest with us. Wow! Now there’s a concept! We are not opposed to large budgets, in fact, we have projects that vary from $5 million to our very own Fantasy Trilogy that will cost in the hundreds of millions. We can support such a wide range of budgets because we put thought and structure into our projects, budgeting them based on the best and most efficient methods to successfully create the story and yield returns to our investors.  

Our writers (and pardon me for tooting their horn) are geniuses and they know how to tell a story that has meaning, stories that will engage and entertain our audiences and yes, bring back a decent return for our investors. This is where every project should be directed and we won’t engage in a project that is less so. So the bottom line is, we, as everyone, want to contribute to the increase in the overall box office numbers with our stellar projects and at the same time earn a return on our investors money since they had faith in us to do it right. That’s as it should be! 

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View the Theatrical Market Statistics 2015 Report 

Contributed by:
Kathleen Messmer
Managing Partner and CEO - Anvil Springs Entertainment  

Kathleen has worked in the film and television industry for nearly two decades and holds a degree in film from one of the nation's’ top universities.  Her long career in the industry has seen her working on a wide range of films with budgets both large and small, building a thorough understanding of all aspects of any film project. She has also worked alongside Oscar-winning producers, directors and actors. 

See more of Kathleen's creative work in photography here.