Movie Selection / Licensing

Respecting copyrighted movies is fundamental for legitimately hosting outdoor cinema events. By respecting the copyright licensing laws, FreshAirCinema and its customers help support outdoor cinema entertainment now and into the future.

Selecting a Movie

There are three elements to outdoor cinema: the outdoors, the social experience, and of course, the movies!

So which movie will you choose? comedy, drama, action, blockbuster, classic, documentary, Independent film? It’s all up to you!

Thousands of movies are available. “The Internet Movie Database” at is a great website for browsing through thousands of movie titles. It should be noted that some companies, notably Disney, have restrictions on the use of their films in outdoor settings. For this reason, please ask us for details when considering a Disney film. Another important factor when selecting movies for your community is to ensure that you gauge appropriate content for the expected audience. With this in mind we would work closely with you to choose films that have wide appeal. Once you select your movie title, we will help you acquire the rights to screen it t your event. We do not purchase the license or you, but help make it easy for you to acquire the film license.

Under the Canadian Copyright Act, any viewing or an exhibition of a film/video in a public space must have a ‘public performance license’ and written confirmation of permission must be obtained from the copyright holder and kept on file. Without obtaining a license, you or your organization may be in violation of the Canadian Copyright Act and subject to substantial civil and/or criminal penalties.

If you are hosting your own family outdoor movie night, you don’t need one. Obtaining a public performance license is a simple process. FreshAirCinema cannot purchase the license for you, but we can help make it very easy or you to obtain it as we have all the relationships and knowledge needed to get it done.

The ‘public performance license’ fee must be paid to the distributor who owns the rights to the movie and is something the organizer (“you”) must pay for directly. It is a very simple process and we will handle most of the details for you. The fee can range anywhere from 150 to $650, depending on the title. A good rule of thumb is that if your movie selection is already available on DVD then it should be around $200-$300 depending on which distributor owns the rights to the title you select.

If want to choose “premium title” (a selection which has just finished its theatre run), then you can expect to pay anywhere between $450 and $650, depending on the distributor.
Please ask us what upcoming movies are going to be available for your event date. We would be more than happy to provide this.

Obtaining Copyright Coverage

Copyright licenses and coverage for a wide range of studios and thousands of films can be obtained from ACF. They work in cooperation with us and they can help you with a complete film program ideally suited to your film presentation needs.



Copyright Licences – Film presentation rights – New film releases

Toll Free: 1-800-289-8887 fax: 1-514-493-9058 /


Gate Admission Events

The flat fees quoted in the section above assume that the movie is being shown to viewers FREE of charge; However, if organizers decide to charge gate admission, then the structure changes slightly, as the required fee could be the greater of the flat fee or 35-70% (depends on film chosen – new or old) of the total gross revenue from the gate admission.

For example, a typical ‘non gate admission’ movie license is $300. If a given event sees 500 people each pay a gate admission of $5 to see a movie. For this particular event, the gross revenue would be $2500 (500 multiplied by $5 per person).  Let’s assume it’s an older tile such as GREASE and 35% of gate admission is what the studios require. 35% of that $2500 is $875. $875 is what would then be paid to the movie distributor. If, however, only 100 people attended, reducing the gross revenue to $500, only the $300 flat fee would be required. It is because of this ‘high ’ charge for gate admission events that we recommend to people who are interested in using our services for fundraising to go with the ‘free-to-the-public’ format but with ‘recommended ’ donations at the entrance and then look for sponsors to cover the costs.

This model works the best and is the most successful at raising funds

Movie Licensing FAQs

  1. Do I need a license?

    The answer is that it depends. If you are hosting a backyard movie party in the privacy of your own home you will not need a film license. However if you plan on staging an outdoor movie night in a public place you NEED to purchase the appropriate non-theatrical license. We will help you with the entire process.

  2. Do the movies come with Public Performance rights?

    In order to show a movie outdoors, on a large screen to a viewing audience, you must ensure that your movie is equipped with public performance rights.

  3. What types of movies can we show?

    There are two types of movies:  those available to the home video market (available on DVD) and those available in advance (pre-release or ‘premium’ titles).

  4. What format are the movies in? VHS or DVD?

    If you are interested in showing a film that is available to the home video market, the titles is available in either VHS or DVD format.  If you are interested in showing a pre-release title, the majority of these films are only available in VHS.

  5. If FreshAirCinema uses a VHS copy and project it on the large screen, will this not compromise the clarity of the film?

    While it is true that a VHS copy is not as pristine or clear as a DVD or a digital copy, we have yet to receive one comment regarding film quality.  More than 50% of our outdoor films are in VHS format.  The pre-release titles prove to be a great treat for the movie going audience!

  6. Can we charge admission fees?

    This depends upon the details of your event.  We need to ensure that your movie screening is deemed a non-theatrical venue.  Contact one of our sales reps for further clarification.




New Releases for 2010

Alice in Wonderland

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