Why Do I Need a Movie License to Host a Movie Event?

Why Do I Need a Movie License?

One of the most powerful ways to share a message with an audience is through film. Using film to tell a story creates an emotional connection and inspires people to take action. People are captivated by a good story and they love watching movies. So why wouldn’t we use these tools to spread the message of the Gospel?

A Movie License Offers a Way to Bring People Together

The common theme in all of this is the work of bringing people together. And, it does take work.

Why should we create opportunities for people to come together?

  • We tend to spend time and flock to those who are most like us.
  • It’s easy to go on auto-pilot in our daily lives or be consumed by our jobs, school, and family responsibilities.
  • Churches can help people open up and look beyond themselves and their circumstances.
  • True community and unity require intentionality.


In a previous post, we shared the benefits a movie event can offer to your congregation. Now let’s look at some of the logistics involved with hosting a successful movie event.

Why You Legally Need a License to Host a Movie Event

Watching a movie at home with friends or family is considered home entertainment and doesn’t require a movie license. Showing a movie outside of your home is considered a public performance and requires a movie license. Churches and non-profit organizations are not exempt from this law. Here are a few important facts about the importance of legally obtaining a license:

  • According to Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Act, you’re required to have a license to legally show a movie in a public venue, including schools, churches, camps, etc.
  • A movie license gives you permission to show the film to public groups as often as you want for a full year.
  • Showing a film anywhere other than your home could potentially result in a fine of as much as $150,000 per showing.
  • Without a proper movie license, it’s unlawful to promote your event using certain movie titles, names of actors, or film producers.

Honoring Creative Gifts and Talents

You may know that we had the distinct honor of being an Executive Producer for the movie, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE. We received a first-hand glimpse of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the beautiful and visual account of Bart Millard’s life story.

Talented writers, costume designers, set designers, producers, directors, actors– like Dennis Quaid, Priscilla Shirer, Madeline Carrol–and many other cast and crew members played a part in the making of the film. You can honor their professional work by purchasing a movie license to use the film for your special event.
Why Do I Need a Movie License for a Movie Event?

A few more reasons a movie license is important:

  • The revenue from movie licenses helps film producers raise funding for future projects.
  • You are gifting the movie experience to hundreds, if not thousands.
  • The reach of a well-planned community event can make an eternal difference.
  • Seeing a great movie is a gift for those guests who don’t get the chance to go to the theater or purchase the DVD.
  • We’re called to lead by example. This includes respecting and upholding the law.

A License Gives You Complete Freedom

It’s important to remember a movie event doesn’t have to fit inside your church walls. The great outdoors makes an awesome venue for a movie event. We offer the tools and resources that will help you make this event your own, based on the needs of your church and community.

  • The purchase of the Movie License Event Kit includes a free Movie Event Guide to help you plan your event.
  • We offer free promotional resources, such as movie tickets, event posters, social media tools, bulletin inserts, and more!
  • A Movie Event is an opportunity for your association or organization to sponsor a group activity, especially during the summer months.
  • Nonprofits can plan a movie event to benefit and grow their cause.
  • A license gives you a lot of decision-making power to host events for different audiences, different group sizes, venues, purposes, and on different dates.

I Can Only Imagine Movie License Kit
If your church or organization has already hosted a movie event, we would love to hear from you! Give us a shout-out in the comments below and let us know how it went. If you’ve been thinking about hosting a movie event, purchase your movie license here and start dreaming about what your outreach or community-building event could be!

Check out our other selections if you are interested in hosting a Movie Event featuring a different film.

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