The title of “executive producer” can have various definitions and roles in the film industry, with movies often having multiple executive producers attached. The executive producer is distinct from the producer, as their roles involve different responsibilities. Producers handle the logistics while executive producers oversee the big picture and creative direction. An executive producer can be involved in the creative overview, the conception of the franchise, or the funding of the film, with their involvement varying in each case. The majority of executive producers are financial backers.

Executive producer” is one of the most prominent screen credits, but various definitions make the title a confusing one. Movies often feature numerous executive producers per project, with some of the names even attached to their own production houses. The more company logos appear at the beginning of a film, the more executive producers it has. Some Marvel Studios executive producers feature so prominently in the credits to those films, that they start to become recognizable names in themselves.

The executive producer is not to be confused with the producer. They are two separate credits conferring two very different roles. The producer is expected to be hands-on, solving the problems of a film production as they appear. Generally, they are tasked with managing the logistics side of a production, freeing the director up to handle the creative side. The producer reports directly to the executive producers, and is responsible for assuring them that the production is running smoothly.

Hollywood’s “Executive Producer” Credit Has Multiple Meanings

The reason the “executive producer” credit’s meaning is still so elusive is that there isn’t one strict definition. Rather, there are numerous vaguely similar roles that can hold the title. Broadly, “executive producer” can be anyone who has a “big picture” role within the film, as opposed to a more hands-on role. This can be someone with a broad creative overview, like Kevin Feige with the MCU. Feige doesn’t write the Marvel movies, but it’s his job to oversee the creative direction of the franchise, which involves input on each individual film’s story. TV showrunners are often given an EP credit on their TV shows for the same reason.

An executive producer can also be someone who was involved in the conception of the franchise, such as Stan Lee in the MCU. In this case, it’s usually a less involved role, with the title being an additional credit that satisfies the creator and allows them to earn more money off the new installment. Finally, it can be someone who was involved in funding the film, such as Eva Longoria on the John Wick movies or Danny DeVito on Pulp Fiction. The money entitles them to input on the film, but this is generally filtered through the producer.

What An Executive Producer Usually Does For A Movie Or TV Show

It’s most common for an executive producer to be a financier for a project. They may represent a movie studio, an investment group, or simply an individual financial stake. The majority of executive producers credited to a film or series will be financial backers. This wasn’t always the case, but the number of credited executive producers to a film has risen exponentially in recent years. According to a study (via Stephen Follows), the average number of executive producers per film has gone from less than 2 in 1990 to 5.1 in 2021. This increase is due to larger trend of ballooning budgets in the movie industry.

Source: Stephen Follows

 The title is credit is vague, but often important.  Read More