Modern filmmaking can be separated into three distinct parts: pre-production, production and distribution. In the past the majority of the movie budget would be spent on shooting the film itself. However, recently, marketing has become much more important. It is not uncommon for large studios to dedicate the bulk of their funds to advertising the motion picture.
A film will only be as good as its initial story idea. During the
pre-production stages the screenwriter needs to come up with an interesting script. The studio can then decide on a director to shoot it. Auditions will be held to find the right actors for the job. Furthermore, a certain amount of money will be set aside to be spent on the project. Once all of the plans have been finalised it is time to actually shoot the film.
The time it takes to complete production can vary. The site BBC News has stories about movies that have ran over the allotted shooting time by months. On the other hand, if the film is less complicated it can be finished in a surprisingly short amount of time. The cinematographer will already know how to frame shots as they would have been storyboarded during pre-production. Overall the actual shooting is fairly regimented. However, sometimes actors are allowed to improvise lines.
When a film is “in the can” all of the rough footage must by edited together. Eventually the studio will have a completed movie ready to be distributed. However, before sending it out to the cinemas the general public must be made aware of its existence. Marketing campaigns for large releases can be very complex. It may end up lasting several months in order to generate as much hype as possible.
In the older days of filmmaking the movie would be sent to cinemas first. Recently a new distribution method has been favoured. Home viewing is extremely popular. As a consequence the latest movies are sometimes released onto streaming platforms on the same day as cinematic openings. This tends to be a more profitable way of distributing the final product. Even if the film does poorly initially the studio can still make their money back eventually. Doing so requires them to continue selling copies for a number of years.