View Full Version : Playing a movie for the que and entrance area

05-27-2010, 05:06 PM
So i have a friend that owns a bounce house company and we have been toying with the idea of using one of his products "movie under the stars" basically a 24 foot inflatable movie screen and the accompanying projection and sound equipment to play a movie or movies and or video games in an area near our que line. The issue i noticed is in the "Public Performance Permit" which is handled through a company that movie studios use to license there films for public viewing. I have yet to call that company to discus the idea but with a quick look around there site its sounds very expensive. Regardless of if you charge for the film or not you have to pay them and if you charge they get a large percentage of your ticketing. As for video games i have not been able to find any such permit yet but it wouldn't surprise me if its out there. Basically what im wondering is if anyone has done this or has experience with this and any advice you may have. We could always just not worry about the permit and do it anyways but i think they do deserve some money just not all of it, and we have a local haunt that would be quick to bring us to the companies attention so i have a feeling we will either do it all on the up and up or not do it at all.


Raycliff Manor
05-27-2010, 05:15 PM
Nick, I've considered this too. I've actually posted in the past and asked for feedback on the use of movie screens. If I remember correctly, this was several years ago, the most popular use was in showing footage of patrons being scared in the attraction on the video screen. I'm glad you brought this up. I'll be interested in seeing what more recent experience has been and what current opinions are regarding this.

One thing I also recall. It was an excellent opportunity for sponsor exposure!


05-27-2010, 05:33 PM
those are some of the very same things i was thinking. We have a local video game store that we are friendly with that was a "silent" sponsor last year and they have a weekly segment on one of the morning radio shows here in town and this was an idea that i had last year to get people to come out before we open and play some games after hearing about it on the radio. Then run some footage and some logo's for the first hour or 2 we're open then a movie later in the evening. In my mind if this worked out well we could have people 'hanging out" at our event for a few hours rather then an hourish and actually have something to do not just stand in the que. It would also generate a buzz around town and its hard to miss a huge movie playing from the road. This would also increase or concession and merch sales since people will be around longer and need some food or drink as well as a sweater or 2. I also had an idea of having the screen viewable from anywhere in the general que area for free but offer a seating area for a few dollar charge.


05-27-2010, 06:38 PM
Hey Nick,

When it comes to the films, your absolutely right about obtaining permission for viewing them to the public, also the same for playing music. You have to get a public performance grant by the copyright holders.

As for the video games, that's a great question. I work in the game industry and I've never thought about that. I've already tossed an email to several of my associates at different game studios to see what they think. But I've got a feeling that while the technical answer will be you may have to get permission because it is a copyrighted work, I think the reality will be, they don't care. But I'll find out first to make sure your not going to be getting into any trouble.

05-27-2010, 06:53 PM
Actually, I do this very thing for our county's park and recreation dept. We bought our screens at http://www.outdoor-movies.com/inflatable_screens.html

You can see our line up of movies here: http://parks.westchestergov.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2663&Itemid=4793

I will say this, to obtain rights to the movie can be very expensive, they will want to know how many people will be at the event, if your charging, and what nights you will be showing it. We use the company http://www.swank.com/

Don't even think of showing any Disney movies as they are subject to date and audience size restrictions (and they are very strict!).

I hope this helps you along your way, and as always if you need a full package of video projectors, sound system, and airscreen put together, dont hesitate to contact me.
Bill Rod.

05-27-2010, 07:24 PM
movierelics thanks for the help with the games, i was thinking the same thing.

Beardedbil swank was the same company i was looking at. I was thinking some older horror or monster movies and we'd have to keep it pg or pg13 since anyone could actually see it. Do you mind me asking around how much you pay per night for your permits?


05-27-2010, 07:39 PM
I think it is roughly around $750 depending on the movie and dates. I will double check this figure tomorrow. This is for ONE night! Check out this list: http://listverse.com/2007/10/31/top-10-public-domain-horror-movies/
These are all in the public domain and you won't have to pay to play... Just an idea
Hope this helps.
Bill Rod.

05-27-2010, 07:46 PM
Aren't a lot of the "Golden Age of Hollywood Monsters" movies considered public domain? If so, there shouldn't be an issue. Plus you can expose a new generation to Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Phantom of the Opera, and more...

You may want to check on that though...

05-27-2010, 08:41 PM
Hey Badger, I'm afraid not. The majority of the golden age monster characters and movies are owned by Universal. So I wouldn't show them.

05-27-2010, 08:53 PM
i recall seeing somewhere that the public domain didn't cover copyright characters or movies or something like that, and i believe it was in swanks faq section. Because i was thinking of going the public domain route as well until i read that. But i agree if we could find some public domain movies by a smaller studio that would be the way to go. At nearly a grand a night it would have to pay for itself each night, that would be to big of a hit to take just for a good idea... But im sure the price is connected to the movie so if it were a B movie im sure the price would be less or at least id hope so...

thanks again bill and your lighting work looks great on your site.


05-27-2010, 09:09 PM
Ok, well, this one has started a bit of a debate. This is what everyone I've talked to about this is agreeing to right now. While the game industry doesn't have any rules and conditions for public display of works like the film or music industry, it does violate the terms and agreements of your EULA and Terms of Use Agreement of the video game itself. There are various rules for public use of the game for lan centers, internet cafes, etc for the playing of the game. But there is also a stipulation for the public display of the game itself also.

This was pulled from one of the terms of use agreements for a video game:
"You may not download, copy or use any of the Materials except as expressly authorized by this Agreement or any applicable License Agreement and, in any event, you may not distribute, modify, transmit or publicly display the Materials without the written consent of GAME STUDIO or, if so indicated in writing by GAME STUDIO, its licensors or suppliers."

So, if you show the video game being played on the wall, your violating the terms of use which makes you open for litigation by the game publisher and/or studio. Most of the people I've talked to agree that this would be a incredibly stupid thing to sue someone over in your situation, but not to say it couldn't happen.

05-27-2010, 09:25 PM
So am i understanding you correctly that it would be ok to play a game in the form of a lan party or cafe were only passers by would view the game say on a tv or computer monitor BUT it would violate the terms of use to have 2 or 4 people playing that same game but projected on a screen so that many people can see it?

the way im reading your post is basically its ok if people happen to see the game being played privately as apposed to the game being used as entertainment for an audience correct?


05-27-2010, 09:31 PM
We're going to be having a projection screen in our line as well. We're shooting a faux documentary about the haunt that will show every so often. We'll also be showing sponsor ads in between.

Another idea we're tossing around is opening our screen up to independent filmmakers and showing horror shorts made by them. Believe me, indie guys love to have their work shown anywhere possible. You could even host a horror short film contest and have them screened at your show.

If you want feature length material, just start trolling independent message boards and you will have indie filmmakers falling all over themselves to get their movies screened at your haunt. And no fees to pay!

05-27-2010, 09:39 PM
Now you know why we've been going around and around. Depending on the game's EULA and TOS (as a colleague of mine pointed out, assuming that the game even has a TOS), it would depend on the terms defined.

The game when you buy is being assumed by the publisher that it's being bought by a private individual. Therefore, the EULA and TOS are typically designed to specify private use by a individual. So any public display would be prohibited (assuming that the publisher put that rule in the EULA). But if you were a LAN center or something similar, you would get a different EULA for such use by a company of that nature. For instance, Blizzard requires LAN centers to agree to a LAN Center EULA for their World of Warcraft and other games.

So, in the previous example, if you were at a LAN center and they were using the EULA/TOS mentioned before, if they are showing the game on a projected screen with 20 people watching the screens of the people playing, then yes, they are in violation of the TOS. Doesn't matter if it's on TV, monitor, projected on a wall, if they can see it, they are violating it just standing over the players shoulder watching him play.

This is why we said it would be really stupid for a game company to sue over, because they are basically punishing for free publicity, but that's not to say that it couldn't happen. The only thing that you can do is read the EULA and TOS and see if there is anything in it that prohibits the use of the game being displayed in any form of public setting.

05-27-2010, 09:48 PM
Haunted that is an awesome idea that i had never though of., i will have to look into that.


05-27-2010, 09:52 PM
Relic, thank you for all that. Those are things i probably wouldn't have thought of, always gotah read the fine print. Looks like ill be pounding the phones if we go this route to make sure we keep everyone happy.


05-27-2010, 10:23 PM
No problem. It was something no of us thought about really either and that's our day jobs. Just read the EULA and see, but I'm sure that if you were to email the community manager of a particular game company, I'm sure that they could put you in contact with the right person or at least point you in the right direction. Hell, they might even provide you with some stuff to give away if you ask nicely. CM's never pass up a chance to promote their games to captive audiences....

05-27-2010, 10:29 PM
another great idea.... you guys are awesome... here i had one idea and within a few hours ive got 10 thanks to all of you...

05-27-2010, 10:31 PM
That's what we're here for. To discuss and help one and another.

05-28-2010, 06:37 AM
What about movie trailers? Are they under the same rules? You could get a collection of movie trailers and put them up their. Mix in your sponsor commercials and some indie stuff and you should have a great que line entertainment line up. Depending on how busy of a night you are having and how visible the screen is they wouldn't be able to watch a whole movie anyways.

Just my 2 cents though...

05-28-2010, 07:39 AM
so to play music..u have to have a public performance grant.....how do wedding and bar djs and coverbands....get to do that... they have to get that also.....:?:

05-28-2010, 08:22 AM
Do you need a specific license to have Arcade machines at the end of the haunt?

05-28-2010, 08:40 AM
As for movie trailers go, those would be allowed because they are created for public display. You could download some of those from Apple and then play them on a screen with your sponsors mixed in.

Music is a tricky thing. It depends on the situation and how the music is being performed. Let's say that I work for one of the music agencies like BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, or SoundExchange. If I was out with my friends on a Saturday night at one of my local bars.

1. Let's say that there is a local DJ spinning music of artist like Snoop Dogg, Ozzy, Metallica, and some others (I didn't say he was good, just for examples). Unless that DJ has a Public Performance license, then he could be fined for every song he plays. Which could be a few hundred to a thousand dollars per song. This is because they must pay a royalty for the "Performance Rights" and for the "Mechanical Rights"

2. Let's say in this one, it's not a DJ but just the bar playing CD's over the speakers. Same thing. Unless they have a Public License, they can be fined for not paying the "Performance" and "Mechanical" rights.

3. Let's say that it's a local band playing a cover of whatever song. Again, the bar would need to pay a "Performance Right" royalty on the music, but not the mechanical. Because even thought it's being performed by someone else, it's still a copyrighted composition written by another artist. Therefore, if you perform it, you owe the original artist some money for their work. But because it's performed and not recorded, you don't owe the mechanical.

Performance Rights are royalties that are paid to the artist for the composition of the work they created.

Mechanical Rights are royalties that are paid to the recording engineers that mixed and recorded the song track for the artist.

These things are checked and monitored. When I was in college in Florida, I was at a local bar in Orlando. One night while a DJ was playing music, some guy walked up to him with the bar owner and made them stop. It was a guy that worked for BMI and just happen to be there with friends drinking. He asked to see the blanket and public performance license for the bar and when they didn't have one, he shut them down. I also imagine they both got a nasty bill from them too... I also ran several radio stations and had to pay these agencies. So I familiar with the rules and the DMCA. The rule is, "If you play, You have to Pay!"

Hope this helps clear things up.

05-28-2010, 08:44 AM
Do you need a specific license to have Arcade machines at the end of the haunt?

No. I would imagine that when you buy an "Arcade" machine, that the EULA would allow public use as that's what it's built for. But it would need to be an honest to God arcade machine and not just a arcade cabinet with a 360 thrown in it. That wouldn't be ok.

05-28-2010, 09:08 AM
real arcades all 400+ pounds of them....

05-28-2010, 09:39 AM
It is my understanding that if you contact most of the movie studios they have no problem providing trailers for you to show at your haunt. They might also provide posters and other materials. You may also contact you local movie theater for help.

Other ideas would be to run independent movies. Put out in the summer that you are going to view for the public these movies at your haunt. Set the deadline for submission to be before you open.

Let the public vote on the best one by setting up an area on your website. Find a sponsor to provide prize money and have a special veiwing on halloween night for the winner.

05-28-2010, 11:19 AM
Awesome idea....

05-28-2010, 12:55 PM
We recently started showing movies at our place too, but the movies we show at our place can't be found at the local video store! We basically record all the action going on in our haunted house season after season, make a DVD from it & play it on a tv somewhere up front. The majority of the time patrons assume what they are watching is LIVE & it gets them REALLY going! Of course we only show the better parts of the recorded footage, the lesser stuff gets edited out.

John Elks
Actor turned Staff/Security
Death Row: Sanitarium of Slaughter
Nashville, TN

05-28-2010, 01:23 PM
the 1960's "night of the living dead" is public dommain. and some old movies but now and days the old movies still have rights to them.

i would say make your own home made horror movies so that way you can a void that.

05-28-2010, 01:42 PM
You could also intersperse interviews or short history clips of your unique characters from the haunt.

Or stage a 5-10min film of a Ghost Hunters international like piece. You could stage Supernatral stuff to happening in the haunt. Don't use them in the haunt. The people that saw the clip would be looking out for those events. You could then hit them with some other scare.

Your best bet would be to see if you have a film school in your town. If you can get on of the professors to have thier classes make horror clips for thier projects it would give you alot of material to work with. Just need to set the rules of what can be shown. The students would get a kick to just have thier projects shown in public.

Jim Warfield
05-28-2010, 03:40 PM
If I owned a steak house, would I feed my customers waiting in line McDonald's hamburgers?
(Or if I had the Mcdonalds would I feed them steaks from another restaurant while they were waiting?)
After they make the trip, spend the time and money to be at your door, why remind them of your competition, movies, by showing them movies?
Maybe I'm just in a "purist" frame of mind right now?
Enough healthy, normally physically ambitious bodies are couch potatoes already.
Get off the couch! Turn off the box! Go see some live entertainment!

Terror Girl
05-29-2010, 04:27 PM
During my "normal" job as the marketing coordinator for a local Harley-Davidson dealer I have done these drive in movie nights several time. www.swank.com is the easiest place to work with. They will ask you a ton of question (most in which you can bs right through). If you are a non-profit you get the movies very cheap (I have got some for as little as $100) but the more current, more people viewing etc the more expensive it is. I haven't ever done anything but a two day rental and never paid over $500. Give them a call ... great people to work with!!

06-02-2010, 06:55 PM
We have been playing outdoor movies for 15 years at our attractions and they are a big hit.
It makes the wait more tolerable and often the people stay to watch what's playing - of course this helps with popcorn sales.
We started by playing movie trailers and film clip compilations then went to full movies. As we grew in size and attracted more attention we realized we should be on the up and up.
We decided to produce our own films. We made them all short (15-20min.) so the patrons could see them from beginning to end while waiting. Every film we made related to the event in some way. For instance our hayride played a 16 minute film of people getting killed on a hayride. The trick was to make it very clean, pg, so it was family friendly.
I think ,as some of you mentioned - the best bet is to find some independent films. The filmakers would love to have them shown to a large audience. The trick is that most independent horror movies have foul language or nudity.

Check out our film"Hayride to Hell" on youtube.

Jim Warfield
06-02-2010, 11:11 PM
Shown a short video to inform, entertain and kill just a small amount of time that sometimes works out very well if it allows afew more customers to arrive and join the group.
Being 15 minutes late is not fashionable but it sure is common.

06-13-2010, 11:20 PM
I say do it but with you own film make the story of you haunt give it history. I know when i go on rides that have like a video before it i feel like it is more real I like how busch gardens has a story to all their rides and to their haunt attractions giving us a little bit more reason to be scared i feel like the more detail the better I makes it more real i think and that the fact that they are walking into this place where bad things have happend well that makes it even worse for the me lol if you need ideas let me know I would be glad to help

08-04-2010, 12:27 AM
I own a radio station and believe me, we pay 3 major companies dearly every onth, BMI, ASCAP and Seesac. It is based on market size and income. We get a blanket to play any works from these agencies and most major works are from one of them. We have to pay extra for any other use, like internet stream or use in tv spots ect. We also can not use them in the background of commercials.

As for the music rights for mobile djs, you can play them as long as the venue where you are playing is covered. Most bars and public places should be covered. it is a grey area if you are playing at a school or outside somewhere.

I thought about playing music in the que line, we are in a mall and they are licensed to play musak on the over head speakers and it would be before people pay for their ticket in the mall outside the actuall haunt. So I am not sur about that. I am just going to make my own audio track about the history of the character using stock music librarys I have bought that are no needle drop and can be used anywhere as long as I don't tack the tracks and re-sell them. I have to have my voice over them and/or make them a part of a production.

08-04-2010, 12:26 PM
It's always best to use Royalty free music when you can find quality versions. You can always find a composer and commission them for custom music at reasonable prices. I occasionally hire composers for video and game projects I'm working on if they require something really unique that royalty libraries just don't work for the project.

You said your paying BMI, Seesac, and ASCAP. What about SoundExchange? And as for the mall playing music, they are licensed to play music over the speakers, so if they are playing the music and have the licenses, your fine. Just make sure you've got the licenses if your playing the music inside your haunt. The moment they cross the threshold into your place, you need the license.

08-13-2010, 02:17 PM
Erebus (a frequent "Top 13 Haunt" in Haunt World) shows what appears to be public domain movies while you wait in their que line. The fact that they are really old and grainy adds to the creepiness, if you ask me. Once you're at the indoor section of the que line, they play videos relating to the storyline of the haunt... Including a fake newscast about the crazy things occurring at the haunt. It's really good.

08-13-2010, 11:38 PM
This topic has been covered pretty well, but I'll throw in my $0.02.

We've had a movie showing in our queue-line for years. It is comprised of about 50 old horror films that have lost their copyright, edited down into clips. We've added original videos we've shot -- commercials, news reports, 1950s style educational videos, etc.

We went with www.Swank.com to see about showing full length features. The problem is that A) they are expensive, especially if you want to show a different film each night and B) they mail them to you, you show them on the night contracted, and send it back. You have no replay rights and C) they WILL follow up to make sure you are in compliance. We had pictures of the posters of the proposed movies on our website, and they told us to take them down until we paid for the movie. The lady then kept following up via our website to make sure we complied.

Frankly, they were copyright nazis.

So we stopped showing expensive films and continue to expand our original shorts and videos. Patrons love it, and it's cheap. It just takes time. Here's our YouTube Channel to check some of them out:


08-13-2010, 11:43 PM
BTW, we theme the film area into an old 1950s drive-in, complete with classic cars, posts with speakers, the lot. Personally, it's a great way to keep people happy for they're waiting a long time.