Who decides when a film is released? We know that the director and producer work in tandem, but who specifically, job role would be preferable here, decides precisely when a film will be released into the wild? For some reason, I had in my head that there was a large meeting, where they would decide exactly when a film was released into cinemas - what person, with what job role, decides this, and does this person work as someone who has nothing to do with the films production in the first place?

  • 1
    That would be the studio executive.
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 12 '20 at 18:27
  • Please make this an answer so I can mark this as complete.
    – cmp
    Dec 20 '20 at 0:36

For a major studio, there is likely no single individual who makes the call - not even the CEO, who is ultimately responsible to a board of directors. For the most part, a studio is going to look at market conditions and other competing releases to determine the best date to maximize box office revenue.

This is illustrated by recent statements by Disney's CEO on the controversial decision to release Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on streaming due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Bob Iger and I, along with the leaders of our creative and distribution teams, determine this was the right strategy because it would enable us to reach the broadest possible audience.

So, the largest and most profitable studio in the industry makes this decision carefully after input from stakeholders who are deeply involved in the process and only after carefully weighing alternatives. Other studios very likely have similar processes in place for their releases.

  • Another example - Dune, being released in various markets on September 15th, US and UK Oct 22nd, and Australia Dec 2nd due to the ongoing lockdowns in the country which are anticipated to be over by that point.
    – user25730
    Sep 13 at 22:48

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