b. Sexually Explicit Motion Pictures

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
 

Independent of the rating systems, there are several steps involved in the distribution of a sexually explicit motion picture. Once a film is completed, the master print is sold to a distributor at a one hundred percent profit to the producer. The sexually explicit film distribution process is similar to that used for general release films. The sexually explicit film distributor reproduces the movie and packages it. Advertising and promotional materials are prepared by the distributor to announce the new movie. The distributor then markets the movie to wholesalers.

 

The wholesaler carries hundreds to thousands of titles. The quality, genre and type of film may influence the wholesale and retail prices. The retailers realize a sizeable profit for the sexually explicit films. While eight millimeter sexually explicit films are not the major influence in today's market that they were five years ago, they continue to have a large profit margin.[1827] Both general release and sexually oriented eight millimeter films are processed at the same cost, but there is a significant difference in cost at the retail level. A general release film has a four hundred percent markup as compared to an eight hundred to one thousand percent markup for the sexually oriented film.[1828] The sexually explicit eight millimeter films are mainly distributed to "adults only" pornographic outlets across the country.

At present, there are approximately twelve to twenty-four production companies involved in making sexually explicit theatrical release sixteen millimeter or thirty-five millimeter films.[1829] These films are sold to distributors who in turn sell or rent the films to "adults only" pornographic movie theaters across the country.

In 1985, approximately one hundred full length sexually explicit films were distributed to nearly seven hundred "adults only" pornographic theaters in the United States.[1830] These theaters sold an estimated two million tickets each week to their sexually explicit movies.[1831] The annual box-office receipts were estimated at five hundred million dollars.[1832]

Sexually explicit motion pictures are advertised on theater marquees and posters. These films are also advertised in sexually explicit tabloids and magazines. Many major city daily newspapers also advertise "X" rated movies alongside general release films.

John Weston, Counsel for the Adult Film Association of America, stated that the "adults only" pornographic theater business has been declining and will be virtually nonexistent by 1990.[1833] He believes this will occur for a variety of reasons. First, the theaters themselves are expensive to maintain and operate. Second, with the advent of video tape cassettes, Americans are choosing not to go out to movie theaters for their movie entertainment. Weston bases this latter statement on the fact that theater admission costs are higher than video rentals, as well as his belief that an increasing number of people would rather watch movies in the comfort of their own home.[1834] He predicts these same trends will hold true for general release movies as well.[1835]

Notes

  1. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Robert Peters, p. 60C.
  2. Id.
  3. Interview with John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association of America (Mar. 8, 1986).
  4. The War Against Pornography, Newsweek, (Mar. 18, 1985), p. 62.
  5. Id.
  6. Id.
  7. Interview with John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association of America (Mar. 8, 1986).
  8. Id.
  9. Id.