Imagine a low-budget production that will be running on multiple festivals and cinemas around the world. After the theatrical tour they'll start home distribution through DVD/BD, VOD and SVOD (like Netflix, Amazon, et al).

In theory they would need to get the movie rated in every country that they want to distribute to. In Europe each and every country has it's own rating agency/system. In Germany for example, it's called FSK and it costs around a thousand bucks to get a feature length film rated. Imagine the costs and time needed if they do this for every country!

How do low-budget productions get around spending tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on movie ratings?

  • Do they just not rate their film and only screen, stream and sell to adults? (This is quite legal in the EU - not sure about the US - but also limits the size of their potential audience.)
  • Is there anything like a world wide rating or fast-track that they could go if they already had and MPAA rating for example?
  • Are there services that would at least handle all the foreign paperwork?
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    That would be part of the distibution deal I'd guess. That's why there are distribution companies (they know the players and the market)....to take on this sort of thing If the producer wants to do it by himself he'll have a bucketload of work and expenses. If not, it comes off the back end of the distribution deal...at least that makes the most sense to me – Paulie_D Sep 24 '18 at 12:15
  • However, you've stated that the movie has already played around the world so the movie will already be rated....so, I'm confused. – Paulie_D Sep 24 '18 at 12:17
  • For now the question is hypothetical. The project is in early development :) How would you go about it if you want to do the distribution independently? Could you just contract a distributor for doing "rating as a service" without giving them any rights to sell the movie? – mrv Sep 24 '18 at 12:31
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    I guess you could ask...but they'd have no reason to do it. Independent distrubtion is a lot of work - independentcinemaoffice.org.uk/advice-support/… – Paulie_D Sep 24 '18 at 12:39

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