Who are the main film distributors in the UK?

Posted on: 17/09/2014

Artificial Eye
Specialises in world cinema and art-house films. The quality of productions means they are successful in film festivals and they have released more Cannes Film Festival winners than any other UK distributor. They distributed Clio Barnard’s fantastic social realist film The Selfish Giant. This was produced by Moonspun Films and won an array of awards.
Titles include: Three Colours Trilogy, Hidden, Welcome To The Dollhouse
UK titles include: Orlando, Land & Freedom, The Selfish Giant.

Buena Vista International (UK) Ltd
Part of Disney,  unsurprisingly they are pretty mainstream fare (Jerry Bruckheimer productions).  It does however release some low-budget UK movies, like Kinky Boots and Calendar Girls. Although Kinky Boots didn’t do much at the box office. Calendar Girls certainly did, grossing around $96million! They may be willing to take a shot at an independent UK film.
Titles include: Sin City, Pirates Of The Caribbean
UK titles include: Breaking And Entering, Calendar Girls, Venus.

Contender Films
Recently acquired by Entertainment One, they distribute mainly low budget gangster films like Daddy’s Girl. They are the leading independent DVD distributor in the UK.
Titles include: The City Of Violence, Shutter
UK titles include: Daddy’s Girl, A Very British Gangster

For you documentary makers out there, Dogwoof distribute independent documentaries, with an emphasis on ethical and political documentaries. So if you have a cracking ethical documentary, Dogwoof might be worth sounding out.
Titles include: The Devil Came On Horseback, La Antena, The Nameless
UK titles include: Black Gold, The Age Of Stupid

The largest independent distributor in the UK, Entertainment has established a very profitable relationship with US mini-studio New Line. They have also released mainstream UK films in cinemas and dvd. They released St Trinians, which was a dreadful film, but did gross over £12million in the UK!
Titles include: Rush Hour, Brokeback Mountain, The Departed
UK titles include: Stormbreaker, St Trinian’s

Guerilla Films
They solely distribute British and Irish feature films and since 1998 they have released 12 features. I met the director David Wilkinson at Meet the Experts pitching event at BFI several years ago. They distributed Adam and Paul, acclaimed drama about two drug addicts. They also released Jan Dunn’s The Calling, on the opening night of the 2010 Independent Film Festival at Curzon, Mayfair.
UK titles include: The Truth, Cheeky, The Calling. Adam and Paul.

Icon Film Distribution UK
Part of Icon Group- international film production, sales, marketing and distribution company started by Mel Gibson in the 90s. Specialises in indie pics.
Titles include: Apocalypto, I Heart Huckabees
UK titles include: Starter For Ten, It’s A Boy/Girl Thing

Lionsgate UK
Independent producer and distributor based in California. In 2005 it acquired UK-based distributor Redbus Films, who released Bend it like Beckham. Lionsgate UK focus on horror, dark drama and foreign language films.
Titles include: Requiem For A Dream, Monster’s Ball, Crash
UK titles include: The Descent, Pierrepoint

Metrodome Group
Distributors of independent theatrical films like Donnie Darko. They also are a DVD distributor, and focus on indie overseas titles, like In order of Disappearance recently. This year they have release British films The Guvnors and Stuart Murdoch’s God help the Girl.
Titles include: Donnie Darko, Lilya 4 Ever, Echo Park LA
UK titles include: Last Orders, Shooting Dogs

Momentum Pictures
Started in 2000 and now releases around 20 titles a year, theatrically as well many on DVD. They have a strong collection of UK dramas, which tend to be quite dark, like Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake.
Titles include: Lost In Translation, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, The Lives Of Others
UK titles include: Vera Drake, Inside I’m Dancing, Control

Optimum Releasing
Bought by Canal Plus in 2005, Optimum is known for independent and foreign language films. It has a distribution deal in place with Shane Meadows’ Brit label Warp X. Warp X is responsible for This is England, Tyrannasaur and the hilarious Four Lions, among many other strong British films. Also, if you get a chance to see Le Donk and Scorsayzee you should take it. This was a largely improvised mocumentary staring Paddy Considine, and was made in a few days with next to no budget.
Titles include: Inland Empire, Elephant, Spirited Away
UK titles include: Lawless Heart, This Is England, Dead Man’s Shoes.

Pathe Distribution
Arguably the biggest producer of UK movies, Pathe is an established distributor. They have produced hits like Mrs Henderson Presents and Severance.
Titles include: Volver, Transamerica, Perfume
UK titles include: Enduring Love, The Queen, Outlaw

Revolver Entertainment
Emerging distributor of indie/world cinema films and documentaries for theatrical distribution. Werner Herzog’s magnificent documentary Grizzly Man was one of their most acclaimed documentaries. In the UK they distributed Noah Clarke’s urban drama Kidulthood.
Titles include: Grizzly Man, Jindabyne
UK titles include: Kidulthood, Tideland, Taking Liberties

New distribution studio of it’s own low-budget British movies. The Infidel, penned by David Baddiel and teen-drama Tormented were two of their recent UK films.
UK titles include: Sugarhouse, French Film

Twentieth Century Fox
Part of the News Corporation media empire, Fox Searchlight provides some indie cred.
Titles include: Star Wars, Die Hard, The Simpsons Movie
UK titles include: Confetti, The Last King Of Scotland, Notes On A Scandal

This UK distribution arm releases all of Working Title’s films – making it the most successful distributor of UK films. Think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I Give it a Year amongst a host of others. Probably not a company to approach as a new-comer.
Titles include: The Holiday, The Good Shepherd
UK titles include: Children Of Men, Hot Fuzz, Magicians

Vertigo Films
Production and distribution company, they make and distribute low budget, genre-driven, commercial films. Director Nick Love (The Football Factory) is one of their key players.
UK titles include: London To Brighton, Outlaw, Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

Verve Pictures
Independent, with particular focus on British and independent films. Off-shoot Drakes Avenue distributes indie films on DVD, with a special interest in contemporary art-house and foreign films.
UK titles include: Bullet Boy, Red Road, The Flying Scotsman