Film finance
Produced in partnership with CMS
Film finance

The following Banking & Finance practice note Produced in partnership with CMS provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Film finance
  • What is film finance?
  • Underlying rights
  • Financing structures
  • Simple film production finance structure
  • Complex film production financing structure
  • Parties
  • Financing terms and the budget
  • Budget and cashflow
  • Financing agreements
  • More...

What is film finance?

Films are expensive to make and costs arise during filming and marketing before proceeds are generated from screenings. Film finance is the area of the film industry which arranges funding to enable films to be made and deals with the security and repayment of those funds and the allocation of the proceeds from a successful film.

Underlying rights

In legal terms, a film is a bundle of assets, including:

  1. the copyright in the story (and it is critical that careful due diligence is undertaken to ensure that the film producer owns the rights in the story being filmed, in particular because copyrights are not registrable; this diligence process is known as the review of the chain of title)

  2. the copyright in the film, sound recording, advertising and marketing material. For further information on copyright, see IP Practice Note: Works that are protected by copyright

  3. other intellectual property rights, including trademarks and design rights. For more information, see IP Practice Note: Avoiding trade mark infringement and passing off claims

  4. choses in action in connection with the film including distribution agreements, and

  5. the physical assets (eg master tapes) comprising the film

Financing structures

Simple film production finance structure

The simplest film production structure involves:

  1. the establishment of a production company

  2. the grant to the production company of distribution rights in exchange for an advance against royalties (generally

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