Protect your deal from closing theatrical windows and simultaneous release on streaming.


With the pandemic closing theaters for many months and the rise of numerous streaming services, feature films are adapting to a new world of shortened theatrical runs and simultaneous (or near simultaneous) release in other media. Make sure you are protected as the studios experiment with methods to maximize revenue for each feature film.

While companies may say they don’t know where the film you are writing will end up, you can negotiate for the project to be treated as theatrical for all purposes under the MBA. Seek to include this as a deal point; don’t wait for it to be included in the long form, which can often take months.

If you are making a deal for a feature-length project for a streamer that will be contracted under new media terms, rather than theatrical terms, please be aware that the company may try to apply the MBA’s application of excess provision to credit your overscale writing compensation against future residuals. You can address this in your deal by negotiating for no crediting of overscale.

Find more guidance on screen deal terms in the new Screen Bonus Guide launched earlier this month. This resource defines key terms for bonuses based on various phases and contingencies: set-up, production, credit, last writer, box office, streaming, and awards. The Guild developed this guide by reviewing numerous bonuses common to screenwriter contracts, including those provided by agencies through our franchise agreement, and it serves as a complement to the other screenwriter resources included in the Writers’ Deal Hub on compensation, compensation for streaming, and screen deal tips.