Question: Alternative to Swank Motion Pictures/Movie Licensing USA
I know that licensing is different (evidently more expensive) for outdoor movie nights but our school which was planning on doing this as a fundraiser was told by Swank Mot. Pict. that the cost for outdoor showing would be $150-350 depending on the movie OR 50% of the ticket sales whichever is larger. These prices, especially the 50% option would cut into our ability to fundraise with this event severely especially considering that we still have to rent the projector and equipment for another $700. Did I miss something or do schools just not do outdoor showings? Are there any companies besides Swank/Movie Licensing that rent movies to schools? Thank you, Pat Diamond Parent of Elementary School Students in Northern California
Asked by Pat Diamond
Advice from PTO TodayCraig writes:
Hi Pat -- Movie nights are great events that build community and help get parents connected to your school and your group. Some groups do run them as fundraisers, but we don't typically recommend that approach. Family events in general are such powerful building blocks for involvement that we recommend you charge only to cover your costs. Groups do run outdoor movies despite the expense. They can be very successful; we have a story in our archives about a group that attracted 500 people to their outdoor movie night. But as you note, the expense of renting a screen and obtaining a license makes it hard to consider an outdoor movie a fundraiser. As far as the license, Movie Licensing USA represents the major studios. They do offer a special discounted rate to parent groups for indoor showings, but outdoor showings fall under different parameters.
Community AdvicePat Diamond writes:
Thanks for your reply. Do you (PTO) as an organization have any plans to try and negotiate with Swank/Movie Licensing for a discount on their outdoor licenses? By the way, it seems that there are two other companies who do this sort of thing (rent at a discount to schools) or who are competitors to Swank. THey are Criterion Pictures USA and MPLC or Motion Picture Licensing Corporation. MPLC provides a $75 one time license and an annual license for $250 but only for indoor viewing. Their studios are Fox Affiliates (www.foxmovies.com) and they assured me they have plenty of family films. THanks again, would love to know if you do have plans to negotiate re: outdoor movies though. Pat Diamond
Advice from PTO TodayCraig writes:
You're right about Fox -- Movie Licensing USA represents all of the major studios with the exception of Fox. My understanding about outdoor movies is that the studios consider them an entirely different category, and they're the ones dictating the price difference. I appreciate your input, and we'll certainly raise the issue to see if a special outdoor rate for schools is possible.
Community Advicesoc2010 writes:
Criterion Pictures USA licenses FOX Films such as Diary of a Wimpy, Marmaduke, Ramona & Beezus. The best way to raise funds for your "Outdoor Movie Event" and to attract a large crowd is to make your're event FREE and find sponsors for your event. Sponsor ads can be run before the movie.
Community AdviceOutdoor_Movies writes:
You are indeed correct that there are two other companies that currently handle licensing of movies. They however are non-competitive in nature as each studio contracts with a single entity, not all of them. We are frequently informed by schools that they are exempt from the requirement to obtain the proper licensing for their outdoor movie event. However for a showing to be considered exempt it must meet all of the following criteria. A teacher or instructor must be present The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending. The movie is used as an essential part of the core, curriculum being taught. The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV. Schools often will also inform us that they hold a "Site License" and thus do not need to obtain another one for their outdoor showing. However if you read you "Site License" carefully or consult with the licensing agency you will note that Outdoor Movies are not covered under this type of license. I've atached a link to SWANK's Annual Site License section for review. http://www.movlic.com/k12/license.html Movie licensing can be expensive, this is why getting the best possible estimate of potential attendance is important, an over guess does not get you refund. This is where a good outdoor movie events company can and will be able to assist you. Finally as someone else mentioned these events are excellent fundraising opportunities if planned well and in advance. Selling concessions and sponsorships can help offset if not completely remove the cost for the school or PTO.
Community AdvicePaint1 writes:
You may also want to run some other events to get people to show up. A silent auction can run on the same night and you could announce the winner beforehand. Concessions are a great way of making money for your cause. Maybe even think about selling hot dogs, pizza, and other items as a movie/dinner package. If you were in CT I could help you with a screen and projector. I have a small outdoor movie business and really enjoy helping out PTA's with their movie nights. Best of luck!
Community Advicedandrews216 writes:
You could also show a Public Domain movie which does not require a license for public viewing. You could have a 3 Stooges marathon.
Community Adviceinfo writes:
I understand from Swank is that if you collect admission dollars you must pay 50% above the rental licence fee. but if you collect DONATIONS from the gate those dollars are not required to share with swank, BUT if anyone wants to enter and not make a donation you must let them in.
Community AdvicePandas writes:
http://k12.movlic.com/ Seems like for an indoor movie, the license cost is around $100. Can easily be shown for "free" and tie in concessions to be your fundraiser.
Community AdviceangelR writes:
Getting local sponsors is the best bet to pay the fee for an outdoor event. One or two great sponsors can cover your fee and get lots of promotion from your group. We often wanted to show Fox movies, however, the Swank license didn't allow that. Its nice to know there is another company that does. I may look into that, we've missed out on a few good Fox movies because of that.
Advice from PTO Todaylharac writes:
There are three organizations that provide movie licenses: Criterion Pictures USA, Swank/Movie Licensing USA, and Motion Picture Licensing Corporation. Each one offers licenses for different movies, and they have different fee structures. They may also offer additional services, like downloadable promotional materials. For the most part, studios only license their films to one organization, so you’ll need to review each one to see who has the movies your community is most interested in. We have more information about licenses—plus everything else you’ll need to plan a movie night event—in our free Family Movie Night planning kit. —Lani @ PTO Today
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