Outdoor Movie History

We're focused on bringing generations together in local communities by creating extraordinary experiences, one event at a time.

All FunFlicks® locations are family-owned and operated. Our owners all emphasize the FunFlicks® philosophy of business management with premium customer service and cutting-edge audiovisual technology. We've modernized a piece of outdoor movie history for people across the United States to enjoy today. The goal is to provide you with fun, friendly, and professional service at a price that is fair and affordable for everyone.

Timeline

1895

1895: Birth of Cinematography

The magic of cinema began with two French brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumière. The two worked at their father’s small photography company from a young age and began experimenting with methods of photographic plate automation in fear of their family business going bankrupt. Inspired by Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope, the Lumières wanted to create a moving picture display that could be enjoyed by an entire audience rather than just one person. Their dreams came true with the invention of the Cinématographe, a device that could record, develop, and project black-and-white films. Shortly after the Cinématographe was patented, the Lumière brothers ventured to the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris, where the first audience came together and watched movies. Today, the Lumière brothers’ innovative spirit and passion to bring audiences together under the big screen remain alive within FunFlicks®.
1902

1902: Birth of the Movie Theater

In Los Angeles, California, the nation’s first permanent motion picture theater, Tally’s Electric Theater, was established. Initially, admission was 10 cents per person for an hour-long viewing on a white bed sheet display.

1922

1922: The First 3D Movie

On September 27, 1922, the first 3D film premiered at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles, California. By wearing red-and-green anaglyph glasses, audiences were able to watch the silent drama The Power of Love with its eye-popping 3D effects. Robert F. Elder’s invention was incredibly ahead of its time and would pave the way for the popularization of 3D films that would come decades later. If you love eye-popping 3D movies, book a 3D event with FunFlicks®!

1933

1933: Birth of the Drive-In

Richard Hollingshead combined his two favorite things, cars and cinema, which led to the invention of the drive-in theater. The vision began with the idea of people being able to watch movies from the comfort of their own vehicles rather than having to visit the local theater. Shortly after tinkering around with a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of a car in his driveway and spacing cars behind the display, Hollingshead patented his idea and showed the first ever drive-in movie at a lot in Camden, New Jersey. With state-of-the-art inflatable movie screens and crystal clear projection, FunFlicks® has modernized Hollingshead’s drive-in experience for future audiences to enjoy across the United States.

1939
1958

1958: The Drive-In Craze

During peak popularity, about 5,000 drive-in theaters showed movies across the United States. Reminisce on the days of old with your own drive-in movie event from FunFlicks®!

1976

1976: VHS

VHS was the first widely used technology that made watching movies at home easy. Movie rental businesses such as Blockbuster soon began selling VHS tapes to meet the growing demand.

1997

1997: DVD

Two years after being invented in Japan, DVDs were welcomed into the United States. Now, state-of-the-art FunFlicks® outdoor movie setups can play movies on DVD, Blu-ray, or direct streaming.

2001

2001: Birth of the First Nationwide Inflatable Movie Company

2001: Birth of the First Nationwide Inflatable Movie Company

On a warm summer night in Baldwin, Maryland, Todd Severn threw an outdoor movie party for his son’s 3rd birthday. Family and friends came together to enjoy the classic 1968 film The Love Bug, starring Herbie the talking Volkswagen Beetle, displayed on the side of a barn. Everyone loved the party, and Todd saw the potential for something greater. In 2001, audiovisual equipment was expensive to rent and scarce to buy; nobody offered a complete, affordable rental package anywhere in the United States, so Todd created his own outdoor theater system. Originally, he used a home stereo, a 2000-lumen projector, and fast-fold conference screens for backyard parties in local neighborhoods. Inspired by the cinema magic that brings people together, Todd was determined to share this dream with people across the United States and thus created FunFlicks® Outdoor Movies.

2005

2005: A New Screen

By 2005, FunFlicks® had taken off, with Todd bringing the projector screen experience to people in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New Jersey. FunFlicks® was able to meet the growing demand with a fleet of small trailers that hauled crystal-clear projectors, high-definition speakers, and professional theater systems to the customer’s location. Technology was improving, and FunFlicks® was able to provide services for over half the price that event production and audiovisual rental companies were offering. After discovering the German inflatable theater screen, Todd was motivated to create something much more transportable and affordable. Thus, the highly portable, free-standing FunFlicks® inflatable screen was created by manufacturers overseas. The FunFlicks® inflatable screen was one of the first of its kind, and its introduction only skyrocketed the success of FunFlicks® as word spread across the United States.

2007

2007: National Spotlight

As the demand for FunFlicks® movie screen rentals grew outside of Maryland, InStyle magazine recognized the outdoor movie craze and wrote a piece about FunFlicks® in their August 2007 issue alongside Mandy Moore. InStyle dubbed FunFlicks® as the best nationwide company to “set up and remove a complete outdoor theater for up to 500 people.” The national spotlight caught the attention of people from coast to coast as FunFlicks® became known for putting on the best movie parties in the nation.

2008

2008-2009: The First Licensees

The word of FunFlicks® quickly spread west, and California wanted in on the outdoor movie action. Lisa Meli took a leap of faith and joined as the first-ever FunFlicks® licensee in 2008 operating out of Los Angeles. Her brother, Nick Collura, now manages the region. Shortly after Lisa joined, Paul Jackman of San Francisco opened shop with services available throughout NorCal and into Oregon. California would soon become one of the fastest-growing markets, and nearby states wanted a piece. Arizona was quick to be added, and around the same time in 2009, Leslie Hernandez in Honolulu started providing rentals throughout Oahu. Back east, FunFlicks® was rapidly expanding with rentals in Long Island, NY. Over in Connecticut, Brett Beaty opened for business, as did Steve and Rhonda Harris in Boston, MA. Services soon began to be offered in Philadelphia, PA, which are now owned by James Gaither.

2008-2020: Party in the South

In 2008, FunFlicks® movie screen rental services began to be offered in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi, which are now operated by Ray Shemmel. Next door, New Orleans, LA joined a year later and was owned by Shawn Sanders, who after 10 years, sold to Eric Thomas. Tom Caldwell began managing Kansas City in 2009 and later expanded to take on territories throughout the Great Plains. In 2010, Atlanta, GA was added to the mix with the Barrentine family who later passed the ownership to Eric. In 2018, after acquiring Kentucky, Eric Thomas would go on to manage rentals in locations throughout Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas – a whole lot of land! Most recently, in 2020, Eric Bernstein joined the FunFlicks® family with operations in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama.

2010

2010-2019: The Wild West

Out west, Chad Hunter and Matthew Dias teamed up to service Bakersfield and Visalia, along with the entirety of California’s Central Valley in 2012. The duo would later go on to own more California locations such as San Diego and Riverside, as well as expand eastward with locations throughout Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Florida. On California’s central coast, Darin Reichwein stepped in to service San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Barbara with his excellent margaritas and audiovisual rentals. In the PNW, things kicked off with the introduction of Washington and Montana locations in 2011. In Washington, Tony Dreher and Cody Geddes dominate the region, with FunFlicks® services offered from Seattle to Spokane. The Knox family opened for business in Bozeman, MT, with their excellent inflatable movie screen rentals. More recently, in 2019, Curtis Nelsen joined offering inflatable and LED rental services throughout Colorado.

2010-2013: The Midwest Magic

Art Astel joined in 2009 as an owner of St. Louis, MO FunFlicks®. In 2010, Susan and Andy Lorimer of Big Bounce Fun House joined the FunFlicks® family with locations throughout Indiana. The next year, Penny McCraken opened FunFlicks® outdoor movie rentals in the land of Buckeyes, Ohio. In 2012, Michigan was added to the list of growing Great Lakes state locations with the Faulkner family. Wisconsin was quick to join the party a year after Michigan was added, with Steve Mocco taking on Sconnie Nation. Steve was the first licensee to introduce FunFlicks® LED technology, which is now available to rent across the United States. Over in Illinois, Chris Pahl gets the party started with excellent projector screen rental services in Chicago.

2010-2020: East Coast Expansion

On the east coast, the Bryant family opened for business and would later pass the torch to James Gaither in Harrisburg, PA. James Gaither now operates in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. In New York, 2010 was an exciting year with the additions of Westchester and Albany. Crissy Petrone now manages southern NY while Tim Bennett handles all of northern NY. Following the New York boom, services were offered in Raleigh, NC, which is now owned by Krystian Mojek. In 2018, Ashley Petty of Charlotte, NC started offering her amazing rentals. Up north in Richmond, VA, the Garvey family opened their outdoor movie rentals in 2010. That same year, Orlando, FL joined FunFlicks® Land, with Gabourys later passing the territory down to Chad Hunter and Matthew Dias. In 2011, John Banks started managing in Columbia, SC and Steve Brown stepped in nine years later to operate in Charleston, SC. In 2019, the Pinners joined the mix with professional projector screen rentals offered around Columbia, SC.

2011

2011: Flying Sky High

In 2011, FunFlicks® soared, becoming a highly recognized outdoor movie company. Not only did FunFlicks® soar, so did the 2011 FunFlicks® infomercial, which was played on most American Airlines commercial flights. The national attention further propelled FunFlicks® to the top as the nation’s best.

2011: Streaming Service Boom

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime made online streaming popular with the general public and led to the majority of films being shot digitally. Stream live sports, shows, movies, or video games onto the big screen at your FunFlicks® party!

2012
2013

2013: 80th Year of the Drive-In

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the drive-in theater, Macy’s held 20 pop-up events across the country, where the Smurfs and Smurfs 2 sneak peek footage were shown. FunFlicks® was directly partnered with the campaign and provided audiovisual equipment to make the drive-ins possible.

2013: Dexter Season Premiere Drive-In

In the summer of 2013, Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network, partnered with SHOWTIME to reward select customers with a secret viewing of Dexter’s final season premiere. At the late Candlestick Park in San Francisco, hundreds of cars arrived and people came together to enjoy the once in a lifetime event. Two years later, Candlestick Park would be demolished. Historic events such as the Beatles’ last concert, prime-time 49ers games, and several World Series matches took place at the stadium.

2013: The Bachelor One Car Drive-In

During the 2013 season of the Russian Bachelor, a lucky couple experienced a single car drive-in at the famous Coit Tower. The couple parked their convertible and enjoyed a romantic FunFlicks® movie night under the stars.

2016
2017

2017: Introduction of the FunFlicks® Silent Cinema

In 2017, FunFlicks® introduced the Silent Cinema experience. Using high-definition wireless headphones, moviegoers get to choose what they hear without the noise upsetting neighbors. If you need to talk to a friend during a movie, no problem. Simply take off your headset and chat without disrupting others or having to yell over speakers to understand each other. Not only are the wireless headphones great for regulating sound levels, but they can also play multiple sound tracks at the same time. This enables the user to listen to dialogue in different languages, music, or even a live DJ set. The Silent Cinema is available in select FunFlicks® locations; be sure to ask your local FunFlicks® about Silent Cinema.

2018

2018: FunFlicks® Headquarters Moves to California

Todd Severn, the original founder and owner of FunFlicks, passed ownership down to Matthew Dias (COO/CFO) and Chad Hunter (President) in 2018. In 2012, Matthew and Chad began their business partnership as licensees servicing California’s Central Valley. Matthew has worked in the film industry since he was a teenager, filming on sets such as Power Rangers and Scary Movie 2. Chad has worked as a fireman for 20+ years and is currently a fire captain for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The two have a great passion for bringing people together under a common love of cinema.

2018: Largest Screen in California

Out west in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2018 saw the addition of the largest inflatable screen in California. Paul Jackman’s gigantic 52’ is not only the largest screen in the state, standing at a whopping 52 feet tall, but one of the largest display screens in the world. Crowds of 5,000+ people are welcome to see the screen in all of its glory. The towering monster of a screen was designed by FunFlicks® partner AIRSCREEN® and is not only known for its massive size but also for its renowned quality. Thanks to Paul’s excellent DCI-compliant equipment, movies that are only available in theaters can be displayed on this gigantic 52’. Rent a part of outdoor movie history, the largest screens in the world, from anywhere in the United States!

2019

2019: FunFlicks® LED

Around 2016, Steve Mocco of FunFlicks® Wisconsin began experimenting with the idea of using LED display technology. Due to their highly illuminated pixels, such screens using LED technology could be clearly seen at any time of day. This inspired Steve to introduce LED sheets, which would later evolve into LED display trailers that are now available to rent across the United States. Tony Dreher in Washington was the first licensee to launch LED display trailers available for rent in 2019. FunFlicks® portable LED display trailers and LED walls are highly visible, weatherproof, quick to set up, and energy efficient.

2019: Dreaded Drive-In

In the fall of 2019, FunFlicks® got a little spookier with the addition of The Dreaded Drive-In.  Those who dared would arrive, park their cars, and watch a series of the creepy independent horror films. Such events were popular throughout the nation during Halloween time, and we enjoyed giving people a good scare.

2020

2020: Rebirth of the Drive-in

Largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-in movies came back in style, and FunFlicks® was there to meet the demand. Drive-in theaters were one of the few places that people could come together, bringing joy to many during troubling times. Schools, businesses, neighborhoods, families, and communities across the U.S. got their public entertainment at drive-ins during the pandemic. The revival of the drive-in further popularized outdoor movies and FunFlicks® as America’s leading outdoor movie rental service.

Experience the Future with FunFlicks® LED

High-Resolution Viewing for Day or Night Events

funflicks-hd-audiovisuals-led-trailer