Differences between a Producer and an Executive Producer in the Film Industry

Differences between a Producer and an Executive Producer in the Film Industry

In film production, the terms “Producer” and “Executive Producer” are often wrongly misconstrued and used incorrectly as interchangeable terms, when in reality they have distinctive characteristics. So what exactly are the differences between a Producer and an Executive Producer in the film industry?

The table below sets out the major differences. However, it is important to point out that outliers and exceptions to the standard can arise depending on budget constraints, agreed contractual terms etc.


Differences between a Producer and an Executive Producer in the Film Industry




The Producer is integral in all phases of a film production, acting as the glue that holds the project together. Their responsibilities encompass a myriad of crucial tasks. This includes budget management, shoot scheduling, coordination with vendors and suppliers, location scouting for filming, recruitment of talented crew members, supervision of special effects and editing processes, and much more.

While the Executive Producer holds significant influence, their responsibilities are often more focused and less encompassing compared to the Producer. They provide financial support to production teams by helping secure funding from investors or partners.


Producers have a greater involvement in creative aspects such as hiring directors, cast, and crew,  overseeing various creative departments and operation production.

Executive Producers, though they may have creative input, often focus on off-set tasks such as negotiations, deal-making and other high-level business matters especially dealings with third-party investors and financiers.



Producers create budgets for approval by the Executive Producers and manage funds throughout the various phases of the production.

Executive Producers are primarily involved in securing financing, sometimes they attach their names and identities to the film project to attract major investors.


They are considered top of the producer chain. Other producers such as the Co-producers, associate producers and line producers all report to the producer.

Usually at the top of the producer and production team hierarchy as they provide or raise financing for a film project.


Producers are usually compensated by the Executive Producer or the Production Company for their contribution to the film.


Whereas Executive Producers earn a percentage share of the film’s net profits, reflecting their investment and financial risk. Typically, considering the investment rate of the Executive Producers, they consequently receive the largest profit from a successful film project. As may be captured by the contracts, and agreements of ownership stake, these profits may include revenue from box office sales, streaming rights, DVD sales, merchandise, licensing and other sources.


More hands-on throughout every stage of production, from pre-production to the post-production phase.


Less hands-on, making significant big-picture decisions regarding the project.


Requires excellent teamwork, communication skills, effective budget management abilities, and a profound understanding of the intricacies of the film industry.

Requires excellent teamwork, communication skills, effective budget management abilities, and a profound understanding of the intricacies of the film industry.


Primary responsibilities are:

●    Logistics – Securing set locations and managing schedules.

●    Coordination – Ensuring that every aspect of the filmmaking process aligns with the vision.

●    Budget management – Tracking expenses to keep the project financially feasible.

●    Personal Management – Hiring key personnel such as the director and heads of departments to assemble a competent and effective team for the project.

Primary responsibilities are:

●    Funding procurement – Finding the financial resources necessary for the film’s production.

●    Financial Backing – Providing financial support for the project.

●    Talent Attraction – Leveraging industry reputation to attract skilled personnel.

●    Strategic Collaboration – Collaborating with key stakeholders to align financial goals with creative vision.


Also read: The Entertainment Industry Year in Review: 2023 Recap by Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL)


Perhaps the biggest difference between a Producer and an Executive Producer is that Producers are more involved in the actual day-to-day filmmaking process. Conversely, Executive Producers play a more strategic role and get involved in financing and overall creative direction.


  • In the production of “The Godfather” trilogy, Francis Ford Coppola served as the producer, overseeing all aspects of the filmmaking process, while Robert Evans was the executive producer, providing financial support and securing funding for the project.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige is the Producer responsible for overseeing the development and production of each film, while various Executive Producers, such as Louis D’Esposito and Victoria Alonso, provide financial backing and strategic guidance.
  • In the Nigerian film industry, Kunle Afolayan often double hats and acts in both capacities as Producer and Director on his projects.

Understanding the difference between a producer and an executive producer is essential for effective collaboration, proper credit attribution, financial management, legal considerations, and career advancement within the film industry.

Can one person hold both film roles of Producer and Executive Producer?

Yes! It is not uncommon for individuals within the film industry to hold multiple film roles on different projects. However, the specific responsibilities and expectations for each role may vary depending on the project.  For example, Mo Abudu, acted as the executive producer for “The Wedding Party” movie.

In conclusion, during the pre-production phase of film production, ensuring that contracts and agreements are meticulously drafted and signed by all parties involved including cast, crew, partners, investors, and financiers is paramount. These documents should clearly outline each party’s roles and responsibilities within the film project. It is imperative that such agreements, drafted and reviewed by a legal professional, also address the ownership of all intellectual property rights (IPR) of the film. Depending on the negotiations between the parties, the contracts should explicitly state the distribution of IPR ownership. In the event of disputes concerning rights or obligations, the terms and conditions outlined in these contracts serve as crucial reference points, facilitating resolution and maintaining clarity throughout the production process.



[1] MasterClass what-is-an-executive-producer-whats-the-difference-between-an-executive-producer-and-producer accessed on February 28, 2024 from https://www.masterclass.com

[2] Andrew Stamm (2023) Executive Producer vs Producer/ 8 Key Diffirences accessed on 28 February 2024 from https://blog.celtx.com/executive-producer-vs-producer/

[3] Ibid

[4] Toronto film school(2023) What Is the Role of an Executive Producer? Definitive Guide accessed on 27 February 2023 from https://www.torontofilmschool.ca/blog/what-is-the-role-of-executive-producer/

[5] https://screenrant.com/godfather-producer-francis-ford-coppola/

[6] https://www.amazon.com/prime-video/actor/Kevin-Feige/amzn1.dv.gti.929ca6f1-af90-4c4a-9756-141757838292/

[7] https://www.kapfilmandtelevisionacademy.com/about-us/industry-experts/kunle-afolayan/

[8] Kyle Alsberry(2023)What is an executive producer and what do they do? accessed on 27 February 2024 from

[9] http://theweddingpartymovies.com/category/crew/


Seun Akinade
Emmanuel Agherario