There are two primary film licensing agencies for the film studios. These film licensing companies do not represent all of the same studios. If the movie you select is not available at one licensing company, contact the other to see if the title is available through them. Some popular movies, such as Star Wars, have not been available for outdoor screenings in years at the request of the copyright holders.
Here are the three film licensing companies that you should contact directly to secure the rights to show a movie at a public venue. The sales reps are very helpful about letting you know about the movies that are scheduled to be released on DVD right before your event. *They are not competitors they just represent different studios.
Film Licensing FAQ's
- Do I need a license?
Yes, unless you are hosting a private party in your own yard. In order to show a movie outdoors on a large screen to a viewing audience, your organization must obtain public performance rights.
- How much does it cost?
The cost can range from $250 to $600 depending on the studio, title and event date. Licensing costs can fluctuate weekly. Contact your film licensing sales rep for a firm quote.
- Who do we pay?
Desert Air Cinema does not collect your licensing fee. You will be entering into a contract with the licensing agency and you will pay them directly. We will steer in the right direction and explain how to get your account set up with them.
- What types of movies can we show?
You can show most movies that have been released on DVD to the home video market. Some current movies that have not yet been released on DVD are available for public showing in VHS format. These are classified as pre-release or premium titles. See the movie selection page for more details.
- Does projecting a VHS copy on a large screen affect the quality of the film?
It is true that the clarity of the video and the quality of the audio will not be as crisp as DVD but the majority of people are willing to make that trade-off for the privilege of viewing a title that is not available in stores yet. The other disadvantage of VHS tapes is that they are only available in full screen 4:3 format. Our movie screens are optimized for widescreen images.
- When will we receive the movie?
The DVD or VHS tape will arrive two or three days before your event. A pre-paid return shipment label will be included in the box. The licensing company will request that you ship the movie back to them on the next business day.
- Can we charge admission fees?
It depends on the details of your event. We recommend that you contact your film licensing rep at Swank or Criterion and explain your situation. Sometimes the cost of the license can change from a flat rate to a percentage of the total gate charges depending on how much you collect.