Finding an Audience, Paying the Bills: Competing Business Models in Mormon Cinema

The Hollywood business model most filmmakers employ involves both a production company and a film studio. The two entities make a deal, and the production company shoots the movie before the studio promotes and sells the movie. Hence, films that don’t attract the support of a studio often can’t be advertised and distributed as widely. In many cases, the movies can’t even be made without a studio’s financial backing. In the Mormon film industry, some filmmakers have employed the usual Hollywood business model. Others have created their own studios to market their films, like Halestorm, and some filmmakers bypass the Hollywood model altogether, making movies that go straight to DVD for purchase on the Internet, like Feature Family Films. Some independent films, like Napoleon Dynamite, have successfully crossed over into mainstream distribution. Unfortunately, the majority of Mormon films have not been financially successful thus far, perhaps because of a glut in the market or because LDS films are not specialized enough to fill the niche they aim to fill.

Purchase this Issue