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The Troma experience: non-U.S. films can reach Americans.

By now everyone concerned has heard how difficult it is to do theatrical business in the U.S., which no one disputes. But, what goes unnoticed are success stories by U.S. companies that are a fraction of the size of non-U.S. organizations that complain the most. A point in case is Troma, a small U.S. company that is succeeding in defiance of the common logic.

Let's look at the Troma experience to extract points of interests to non-U.S. companies willing to take the time and make the investment to succeed in the U.S. theatrical business. This is apart from the typical effortless approach of trying licensing U.S. distributors such as Miramax, Samuel Goldwyn, Orion Classic and a few others. In the U.S. there are 24,000 screens shared among 129 theater chains (circuits) and 2,680 independent theaters. The vast U.S. territory is complemented by a large number of support services, ranging from 24-hour-a-day, seven days a week film delivery services (at least five specialized companies), to over 60 buying and booking agencies. All kinds of detailed data are available from several directories, including the popular Motion Picture Almanac.

At this point, what would it take for major film associations such as Italy's ANICA, France's Unifrance or organizations such as SACIS, RTVE, Canal Plus and UFA Film to set up shop in the U.S.?

A company like Germany's Telepool is certainly much larger than Troma! What's the secret? It is dedication, commitment and understanding of the U.S. market: simply what the much maligned U.S. companies do when they go overseas.

Looking at the Troma experience, any producer/distributor could find 500 screens (out of 3,000 possible theaters) willing to accept a non-U.S. movie, especially during down-time. The opportunities abound: holy-days not suitable for major releases (e.g., Yom Kippur, All Souls Day), when studios push back release dates at the last minute, or simply when there is little product in circulation. One traveling sales manager and one phone-tied director of exhibition relations is all it takes to keep in constant touch with theaters. Plus, it is necessary that few prints are bicycled among cinemas.
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Title Annotation:example of film distributor Troma Inc.
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:The Troma Apex: know your film market.
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