Traffic lights display green to indicate "go ahead".
Traffic lights display green to indicate "go ahead".

To green-light is to give permission to proceed with a project.[1] The term is a reference to the green traffic signal, indicating "go ahead".

Film industry

In the context of the film and television industries, to green-light something is to formally approve its production finance and to commit to this financing, thereby allowing the project to proceed from the development phase to pre-production and principal photography. The power to green-light a project is generally reserved to those in a project or financial management role within an organization. The process of taking a project from pitch to green light formed the basis of a successful reality TV show titled Project Greenlight.[2]

At the Big Five major film studios in the United States and the mini-majors, green-light power is generally exercised by committees of the studios' high-level executives.[3] However, the studio president, chairman, or chief executive is usually the person who makes the final judgment call.[3] For the largest film budgets involving several hundred million U.S. dollars, the chief executive officer or chief operating officer of the studio's parent conglomerate may hold final green-light authority.[3]


  1. ^ "Green light (dictionary definition)". 2020-05-02. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  2. ^ "Project Greenlight". HBO. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Lang, Brent; Shaw, Lucas (2013-11-19). "Who Has Greenlight Power in Hollywood? A Studio-by-Studio Guide". TheWrap. Retrieved 2020-05-11.