Movie Marketing Budget 101: Where To Get Your Funds and How To Spend It Wisely

movie marketing budget
Updated on 28/11/2023

How much do production companies shell out for their movie marketing budget? Do they really spend hundreds of millions on just marketing alone?

Well, for big-name studios like Marvel, money just flows right into their hands. They spent north of $356 million to produce the hit superhero film Avengers: Endgame, then invested $200 million more for marketing costs. It doesn't matter, though; their $2.8-billion haul at the box office means a big payday for everyone involved.

But did you know that even a low-budget movie usually spends a lot on marketing and advertising? For example, Jordan Peele's 2017 film Get Out, which only cost $4.5 million to produce, had a $77-million global budget for P&A (Prints and Advertising).

Along with Get Out, other low-cost films like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Split, Annabelle: Creation, and A Quiet Place also had marketing expenses that were six or seven times higher than their production costs. So why do movies spend this much on marketing? Is this a trend that most movies have in common?

Where Do Movies Get Their Marketing Budgets?

You may be wondering where these low-budget movies are getting their marketing funds. Split has an eight times higher marketing budget than its production budget. In the same case, Annabelle: Creation spent six times more on marketing and advertising than on producing the film.

Don't fret too much, though; you don't have to get all that money out of your own pocket. The source for a movie budget, including marketing and advertising, could come from different channels. You must remember that the movie industry is a huge market, a space that will continue to make billions of dollars yearly.

Where do movies get their budgets

There's more than enough money for everyone, that is, if you attract the right people's attention. For movies already influenced by big-name Hollywood production companies right from the get-go, raising funds for P&A won't be a huge problem. But if you're a first-time filmmaker or an independent director, entering your movie in a film festival could make all the difference.

A film festival allows independent filmmakers to strut their stuff and raise funds if they're lucky. If your film packs an intriguing story (you don't always need groundbreaking visual effects or special effects) that is good enough to distribute, it could receive funds from the following:

  • Private investors
  • Production studios
  • Brand sponsors
  • Entertainment companies
  • Executive producers

Along with the possibility of raising funds for your movie, this is also a great way for you to showcase your ability as a filmmaker. Whether local, regional, or global, film festivals are attended by the influential people we just mentioned above. If you want a prominent producer to take care of your movie's distribution, entering the film festival is the way to go.

Of course, there are other ways to raise money for movie marketing. Generating funds to cover your movie costs could include crowdfunding, government funding, and product placement.

What's the Average Budget for a Movie?

When we talk about the big leagues—think Hollywood blockbusters—the average production budget alone can skyrocket to around $100 million. But let's not forget that the marketing budget often matches or even exceeds this figure. For instance, if a movie has a production budget of $100 million, the marketing costs can range anywhere from $50 million to $150 million. That's right; some films end up spending more on marketing than the movie's actual production!

For indie filmmakers or those navigating the festival circuit, the numbers look different but still underscore the importance of marketing. The average budget for an independent film is usually around $1 to $5 million. Yet, these films can still allocate a considerable chunk to their marketing efforts, sometimes more than half their budget. This underscores the philosophy that no matter the size of your film, your marketing budget is a critical aspect that could make or break your movie's success.

Why is the average budget for marketing so high, you may wonder? The scope of modern movie marketing is vast, including everything from digital advertising campaigns, social media engagement, and influencer collaborations to global premieres and more. All these efforts require a financial commitment that's hard to skimp on if you want your film to make a splash in the fiercely competitive market.

Factors To Consider Before Spending Your Movie Marketing Budget

As we briefly touched, the average film budget ranges between $50 million to $100 million. On the other hand, a short film takes on different pricing; on average, it needs between $700 to $1,500 per minute of running time. A movie budget could even drastically increase if it needs a high level of special effects and editing, both of which are included in the post-production process.

On top of that, marketing expenses are typically not yet included in these average movie budget estimates. The average movie marketing budget is at least 50% of the production costs. If your film spent $5 million in production, you might need a baseline of $2.5 million for your marketing efforts.

So, we're saying that movies cost so much to make, and promoting them is no picnic, either. So before you spend your marketing budget, wisely consider these factors first.

Are you aiming for a theatrical release?

How will people watch your film? Do they need to go to the nearest theater or just relax on their sofa and watch it on a Smart TV?

Aside from theaters, you can also show your movie on cable television or streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu. Each channel has pros and cons, and the marketing strategies will definitely vary depending on your chosen route.

In which regions do you want your film to be available?

The beauty of a film is that it can encapsulate various cultures into one well-directed story. You can make your movie available worldwide without losing touch with people's diverse beliefs and way of life.

Depending on which regions you choose to show your film in, your total budget for marketing could be spliced unevenly. The important thing is to analyze the market and see which regions align the most with the themes of your movie.

When will you start advertising?

How long should you advertise your film, and when do you start promoting it? Typically, marketing efforts should begin before the film production, so you have ample time to make changes based on initial reactions from your target audience.

It's also recommended that you ramp up your advertising efforts near the dates of film festivals and other major events in the cinema industry.

How Do Movies Spend Their Marketing Budgets?

advertising a movie

There are diverse ways to spend a movie marketing budget, especially with the inclusion of today's digital platforms.

Online Advertising

With the abundance of social media platforms and video streaming sites today, online advertising in the movie industry has become more valuable. Television commercials are still a thing, but whatever you do on TV, you can now do online. Releasing a trailer previously exclusive for television and cinema ads can be done through YouTube and social media today.

Most importantly, the chances are your target audience is mostly present on social media. Simple online events like giveaways and live Q&A sessions with the actors could go a long way in promoting a movie.

Press Advertising

Press advertising is still a legitimate way to put your movie title out there. Movie budgets almost always include advertising in regional and national newspapers, whether in a feature article, simple photo ads, or having the movie reviewed by a reputable critic.

The strategy is to have your movie mentioned by a credible source, and there's no better outlet than the press itself.

Outdoor Advertising

Have you seen sci-fi films getting creative with their movie posters on train stations? A large chunk of a movie marketing budget goes to outdoor advertising and promotion. This includes billboards, public transit advertising, indoor posters, and retail advertising.

You may want to peek at the top 5 movie marketing campaigns of all time.

Spend Your Marketing Budget With the Right People

Making the most out of movie marketing budgets could also mean investing in the right people to help you. Money is a crucial asset in this market, so you want to spend it wisely.

Bringing in an expert marketing team like Gruvi will help you develop brilliant marketing ideas that will help connect you to your target audience. Gruvi has been helping independent filmmakers and content creators worldwide, so don't miss out!

Contact Gruvi today to learn more about how they're helping people elevate their work in the movie industry.

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