On October 9, 2016, China's e-commerce-giant Alibaba (lead by Jack Ma, left above) and Hollywood's Amblin (lead by Steven Spielberg, right above) announced a partnership to co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences.
According to The Hollywood Reporter: "Under the terms of the deal, Alibaba Pictures will acquire a minority equity stake in Amblin with an Alibaba Pictures representative joining Amblin's board."
As a result of this new deal, the Spielberg-directed The BFG - which was a crushing box office disappointment in the US, when it opened to under $19m over the July 4th, 2016 holiday weekend - will get a splashier Oct. 14 release in China.
What do all the different types of producer do?
As per ldsfilm.com, here are some rough guidelines (although these functions can overlap and duties can be rewritten as quickly as a rainy day's schedule)...
The Producer = chief of a movie production in all matters (except the creative authority delegated to the Director by the Producer) including arranging funding, hiring key personnel and obtaining distribution.
Co-Producer = usually performs a substantial portion of creative producing or is primarily responsible for one or more managerial function.
Associate Producer = usually performs a limited number of producing functions delegated to him and under the direct supervision of the Producer.
Line Producer = responsible for managing every person and issue during the making of a film. Line Producers only work on one film at a time.
Unit Production Manager (Unit Manager, UPM) = responsible to a more senior producer (sometimes the Line Producer) for the administration of a particular movie. Unit Production Managers only work on one film at a time. These professionals (also sometimes known simply as Production Managers) are often hired to prepare budgets. Because of their knowledge of budgets, they can be delegated the responsibility for hiring the crew and approving purchase orders and time cards (although often the purchase orders and time cards are handled by production accountants). Not all films have Production Managers: On some films, the Line Producer, 1st AD and Production Accountant cover all the UPM responsibilities. Generally, on bigger films, Production Managers make sure that all departments are doing their respective jobs within the parameters of the budget.
Assistant Director (AD, A.D., 1st A.D., First Assistant Director, 1st Assistant Director) = running the set, making sure the progress of filming stays on the production's schedule. If there is a 2nd Assistant Director, that person prepares the call sheets and typically oversees the movements of the cast. ADs only work on one film at a time.
(aka Executive in Charge of Production) = typically handles business and legal issues. An Executive Producer is often someone who got the money and is therefore not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking but is still (in a sense) responsible for the overall production.
Note: Although they are not billed as producers, the following work very closely with the Producers, ADs and/or UPMs:
Production Accountant = works from the production office, responsible for recording and reporting on finances during the production.
Production Assistant (Set Production Assistant, PA, Gopher, Personal Assistant, Assistant To, Assistant To Producer) = responsible for all sorts of unglamorous but essential errands - including "locking down" traffic so that filming can happen without interruption, running errands for various departments, as well as serving at the whim of the Producers and ADs. Sometimes big stars are assigned their own production assistant.
Production Coordinator (sometimes known as Production Supervisor) = responsible in the office for the smooth flow of information and equipment to the set - including making sure the reports and call sheets are being properly prepared and circulated. The Production Coordinator runs the production office and generally knows where everyone and everything related to the production can be located (including the most elusive of production assistants).