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TOPIC: Licensing Question

Licensing Question 29 Mar 2007 16:28 #25465

  • cft
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Last summer I organized outdoor movie events for our town and went through Swank Motion Pictures to get licensing for the DVD titles we used. Since we were non-profit, showing the movies for free, and did not expect more than 100 people the cost was minimal--between $125-$250 for each of the eight films we chose to show that summer.
We were not allowed to advertise the titles of the films in print or on-air, just through flyers and a website.

Is this the same procedure for indie theatres that show older films? And is the cost a lot more if audiences are paying?

[This message has been edited by cft (edited March 30, 2007).]
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Re: Licensing Question 30 Mar 2007 14:11 #25466

  • HollywoodOz
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This is a non-theatrical license, and it's pretty standard.

Hotels and airlines work under this license - basically, it's a 35% split for the distrib (if you charge a ticket price - a flat fee if you don't), and the titles you get access to are a few weeks from rental release, so it's a good option for non-profits as fundraisers.

You won't get new movies with it (I believe Night at the Museum is on non-theatrical at the moment), and the rules restricting advertising are pretty harsh (only on-site or on a website - no listings at all), but if you have a membership list you can send an email to, or a venue that has decent pass-by traffic that will make signage a good option, it's a decent entry point if you want to run some screenings without going through too much hassle.

It's different, however, to a sub-run agreement, which is what most indie theaters work under.



[This message has been edited by HollywoodOz (edited March 30, 2007).]
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Re: Licensing Question 30 Mar 2007 14:28 #25467

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Thanks for the info!

There's a dollar theatre a few cities away and I was wondering how they managed to charge so little for the features. They seem to be titles available on DVD most of the time, so I was just curious if this was the same arraingment they'd worked out.
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Re: Licensing Question 31 Mar 2007 14:15 #25468

  • BECKWITH1
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Actually, you cannot advertise the TITLE of the movie on a web site or on an outdoor marquee under the non-theatrical license. That would make it a public showing. I know, I once had to point out such violations to a distributor who immediately shut them down.

[This message has been edited by BECKWITH1 (edited March 31, 2007).]
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Re: Licensing Question 14 Nov 2007 11:45 #25469

I have a question regarding this.

What would be the approximate cost to lease a film that's been out on DVD for a couple of years?

I'm working on a class project for a hypothetical business operation.

We are "showing" all three Lord of the Rings movies at a local cinema. We just want to know the approximate cost of just leasing the films?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Licensing Question 14 Nov 2007 12:23 #25470

  • slapintheface
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lord of the rings my guess $250.00 each film -- if you charge admission 250 vs 35%
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Re: Licensing Question 14 Nov 2007 16:22 #25471

  • rodeojack
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>There's a dollar theatre a few cities away and I was wondering how they managed to charge so little for the features. They seem to be titles available on DVD most of the time, so I was just curious if this was the same arraingment they'd worked out.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If the films are old enough, it could be that they're just flat rentals... around $250 apiece. Under that arrangement they could advertise any way they wanted.
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Re: Licensing Question 14 Nov 2007 18:19 #25472

  • revrobor
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I have dealt with Swank in the past and know they can get you a "Public Performance License" from the distributor. Then you would be free to advertise anyplace you want. The film rental will jump to 50% of your take.

Last year I was managing a small, single screen in Iowa. Our ticket price was .99 cents for all ages and all performances. Our film rental ranged from 35% to 90% (for Disney if we went over $1,000 at the boxoffice). I didn't make much at the box. If I took in $400 there I would make $1,200 at the concession stand. The boxoffice is not where most theatres make their money.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Licensing Question 16 Nov 2007 01:50 #25473

  • markegge
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Showing 3-month-old 35mm prints at my university's non-theatrical theater runs us around $925 per film, with our Swank contract.

Wish we could get theatrical status ... we typically only have 200 or so students attend any particular movie, across the whole weekend when it's shown. At ~$1.50 per ticket, we loose a lot of money.
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Re: Licensing Question 16 Nov 2007 11:08 #25474

  • BurneyFalls
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A private, non-profit, university around here is playing DVD's without paying any rental fees. They say they are doing it legally because they can tie in the film's subject matter with some class subject. Is that legally possible?
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Re: Licensing Question 16 Nov 2007 13:43 #25475

  • rodeojack
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Maybe. I heard something like that was happening, and it was put much like you describe. Don't remember where though. My head's telling me it was around the time "Brokeback Mountain" went DVD, though I don't know if it involved that film.
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Re: Licensing Question 16 Nov 2007 19:11 #25476

  • markegge
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BurneyFalls:
A private, non-profit, university around here is playing DVD's without paying any rental fees. They say they are doing it legally because they can tie in the film's subject matter with some class subject. Is that legally possible?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Well, it's POSSIBLE, yes.

If the film has been purchased by the University and is part of the university's video library, often those videos will be licensed for "public" exhibition on the university.

Or, it's also possible that the university is getting permission from the distributor for each film it shows. A few groups on my campus have managed to get permission to show movies in our theater for free.

In most cases, though, the studios don't care if you're showing the movie for "educational purposes"--they want to be paid if you're publicly showing their movie. Period.

As part of Fair Use, clips from a movie can be shown in an academic context without specific permission, but not the whole movie.

Odds are, though, that they're just mis-reading Fair Use and are showing the movies in violation of copyright law. Unless there's a whistle-blower, though, odds are that they'll never get "caught".
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Re: Licensing Question 18 Nov 2007 10:11 #25477

  • variety
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I am going through and reading alot about the licensing but I still do not have any clear answers. I want to open a small theater with 60 seats, and need information on distribution for second run or non-theatrical (I think that's the term) showings. I want to charge admission for movies that are no longer in the theater's, think dollar theater. Can anyone provide me with a clear answer or link that I should use for information? Please help.

Thanks
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Re: Licensing Question 18 Nov 2007 12:49 #25478

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If you have a room with 60 seats, a big screen and you charge admission, you hardly fit as "non-theatrical". 2nd run implies that the film is still in circulation for theatrical use. If you're talking about playing DVD-type material that is no longer in general use, you need to talk to a clearing house like Swank, or set yourself up as a theatre, get your master licenses from the studios and then get ahold of their classics divisions to see what might be available to you. One method allows you to advertise as a theatre, the other does not. In any case, you're going to pay around the same money to get the rights to play old stuff on a flat-charge basis. In the case of film, add shipping charges and the costs surrounding operations of a film-based booth.

Sorry... there's no easy way out on this. If you want to act like a theatre, you'll have to pay for the product you sell, just like everyone else does. If this business was that easy, risk-free and "click-to-start", there'd be a "theatre" in every Starbucks store.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited November 18, 2007).]
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Re: Licensing Question 18 Nov 2007 13:48 #25479

  • wimovieman
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This link is a pretty good one on explaining when and how schools need licensing. http://www.movlic.com/k12/copyright.html
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