The Law Offices of Mark Litwak and Associates has offered its clients high quality legal and business solutions for more than twenty-five years. We serve a global clientele in transactions involving financing, producing, and distributing motion picture, television, and new media projects. We represent numerous writers, directors, producers and production companies.
The firm has served as production counsel for numerous television and new media programs and series produced by independent filmmakers as well as productions made for major studios, networks, and content providers including Netflix, Warner Bros., 2oth Century Fox, Cartoon Network, HBO, IFC, Yahoo!, Disney/ABC, Hulu, Paramount, Seeso/NBC, Comedy Central, Verizon, YouTube and MTV.
The firm has won millions of dollars in damages for filmmakers who have been defrauded by distributors.
Mark Litwak has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in Southern California for 2017. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. This is the 8th time Mark has been honored with this award which is based on anonymous peer evaluations.
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-‐phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.
The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Super Lawyers magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to superlawyers.com or click Here.
Mark also has for many years received an AV peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell. This is the highest rating given a lawyer and is indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada.
Podcast: FILM MAKING PITFALLS IN DEAL-MAKING AND DISTRIBUTION
Listen to Cinema of Change Podcast interview of Mark Litwak
Crowdfunding Portals Approved
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) after a long delay has finally adopted rules to permit companies to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding. Several years overdue, the new Regulations for Crowdfunding are to implement the requirements of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”). Read more.
Areas of Practice
□ Entertainment Law
□ Contract Law
□ Copyright and Clearances
□ Trademark and Unfair Competition
□ Business Transactions and Formation
□ Motion Picture Finance and Distribution
□ Television and Film Production Legal
□ Book and New Media publishing
□ Defamation, Rights of Privacy and Publicity
□ Intellectual Property acquisition and licensing
Expert Witness Services
Mark Litwak has served as an expert witness for both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitration. He is an authority on customs and practices in the movie industry, entertainment law, deal making, economic damages, chain of title, and the financing and distribution of films.
Box Office Trends
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has released its 2016 Theatrical Market Statistics. The report finds that, in 2016, the global box office for all films released in each country around the world reached $38.6 billion, up one percent from 2015. The domestic (U.S.-Canada) box office was $11.4 billion, which grew two percent, while the international box office was $27.2 billion in U.S. dollars, the same as 2015, despite the increased strength of the U.S. dollar and slower growth in China. The international box office now comprises 71 percent of the global box office.
The number of cinema screens increased by eight percent worldwide in 2016 to nearly 164,000, due in large part to continued double-digit growth in the Asia Pacific region (+18%). The number of digital screens (+17%) and Premium Large Format screens (+11%) also saw double-digit growth globally. The number of digital screens in the United States has now increased to 98 percent of all U.S. screens. Ninety-five percent of the world’s cinema screens are now digital.
The highest grossing U.S.-Canada box office films in 2016 were as follows:
1. Finding Dory (Disney): $486.3
2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Disney): $408.2
3. Captain America: Civil War (Disney): $408.1
4. The Secret Life of Pets (Universal): $368.4
5. The Jungle Book (Disney): $364.0
In 2016, the U.S.-Canada box office was $11.4 billion, up two percent from $11.1 billion in 2015. Tickets sold (1.32 billion) held steady compared to 2015.
Three of the top five grossing films in 2016 attracted majority-female audiences. Finding Dory drew the largest proportion of females, with 55 percent of its box office coming from women. The Jungle Book drew the most ethnically diverse audience, followed by Finding Dory and Captain America: Civil War.
The total number of films released theatrically was 718, which was an increase of one percent from 2015. MPAA members, which are the major studios, released 139 films, down five percent in 2016 compared to 2015. Independents continued to release the most films domestically with 579 films, up three percent from 2015.
Home Video on the Decline
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the home video market for sales and rentals of movies continues to decline as more consumers turn to Netflix and other services for movies. Revenue from sales and rentals of movies and television shows totaled $12 billion in 2016, down seven percent from the prior year, according to data released Friday by trade organization Digital Entertainment Group. At the same time, subscription streaming services continued rapid growth, increasing nearly 23 percent to $6.23 billion in consumer spending. For the first quarter of 2017, Electronic Sell Through increased 13 percent. Consumer spending on home-video entertainment grew two percent from the same period in 2016.
The New WGA Agreement
The Writers Guild of America reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), averting a strike. The new deal will extend to May 1, 2020. Minimums will increase by two percent in the first year and by 2.5 percent in each of the second and third years.
Residuals for made-for-pay television increase ten percent in the first year of the contract and five percent in the second year of the contract. Domestic use of made-for-Hight Budget SVOD programs now triggers a residual after 90 days, rather than after one year.