Opening Weekends and Total Gross For DIY v. NonDIY Distribution
Jeremy Juuso is an author (Getting the Money: A Step-by-Step Guide for Writing Business Plans for Film) and consultant. In this Aug. 22nd, 2010 blogpost, Mr. Juuso says that, on average, DIY distribution can result in slightly better opening weekends but films with traditional distribution (which tend to be bigger budget indies) have longer legs. ("Longer legs" is an expression film marketers use to describe films that hold their audience and tend to stay in the theaters longer and therefore make more in the long run.)
In an earlier blogpost, Mr. Juuso gave this advice to DIY filmmakers who don't want to fade away after a boffo first weekend in the theaters: "Raise enough money for your release from the start, even before you begin shooting – and don’t blow it all on opening weekend! When approaching investors you need to make plans for the worst and request sufficient funds for the very real possibility that no distributor will want your film on terms that are favorable to your investors. And most importantly, you must raise enough money to have leftover gas in the tank for chasing a hot opening."