Costume bans and security, part 3: Want to organize a furmeet for Zootopia? Here’s how.

by Patch O'Furr


Nugget, fursuit of Salem Wolf

Response to the articles:

There were a lot of great comments!  It does seem like the feeling of high anticipation is true.

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There was one piece of confusion for some readers. Going to the movies in costume doesn’t mean wearing it during a movie. Parts will come off to watch it, and theater rentals may include change space. Members of local meets are interested in a social experience before and after, like a “crawl” around town.

Costuming and security is a much wider issue.  I’ve heard rumors about cons encountering problems with organizing, while making hotel deals and then being surprised by rules against masks in their public space.  Biggest Little Fur Con has to carefully manage no-mask rules on the casino floor of their hotel.  FurTheMore convention moved to Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, in May 2015, where there’s a statewide anti-mask law.  A staff member told me they had to work with police to get a special weekend festival exemption.  The con put out official instructions not to go off hotel grounds in fursuit, or risk arrest.  Costumers will have to deal with the issue in the future.

Interested in organizing your own movie meet – to get trust, and permission for costumes?

You can get a good start by collecting RSVP’s from friends and local members. If you’re able to get several dozen, a whole theater rental may be in your range. Scout around and see if there are local ones that support community events.  Once you’ve proposed and negotiated rates and times, the next steps would be signing a commitment, or collecting ticket/deposit money in advance (depending on how payment is supposed to happen).

Be aware: Theaters are independent from studios. Each movie is shown by contract between them. That may limit what you can ask and they can provide, depending on their contract terms and timeline. Theaters like filling seats – but their main support is concessions sales. So if you organize for a group, consider asking about a package deal for snacks, and tell them you want to bring them good business.

Contracts with Disney may involve this term (I’m not sure if it’s every theater, but the studio is probably the source): Admission charges collected for each ticket must all go to Disney – meaning you can’t add a fee to it and keep the difference. The movie can’t be used as a fundraiser. Theaters may be used to hearing from groups who want to do that, but it’s not permitted by the contracts they have to sign.

Sample Letter:

“Dear Theater management:

I’m writing on behalf of a social group seeking a host theater to rent. I’d like to prepare a screening for Disney’s Zootopia, that releases on March 4.

(X) members are committed now, and greatly anticipating the event. Potential attendance may top (x). A final count with paid tickets can be completed in advance. We can negotiate for most convenient rental date (preferably on the week of release). We can pay a deposit for space, and discuss a group price for concessions, hopefully improving business for you.

With reserved movie seating, we also want to discuss permission for a fraction of members to attend in costume. (Optionally, with private roped/curtained or closed-door changing space, if available – even a corner of a theater. If there are concerns about security, a member list and signed waivers can be pre-arranged.)

About us: We’re a loose, nationwide group for animation and costume fans, makers and performers. Specifically, for anthropomorphic animal media. Mascot costumes are a specialty.  Some of our group works with (venue) to organize (event), which has (X attendance, accomplishments and praise). Positive national headlines about this group have come from Pittsburgh, PA, where their largest convention (Anthrocon) draws $7 million in annual tourist spending, and the mayor declared a day in it’s honor. We bring high loyalty to venues that host.  (Please see: )

Disney’s Zootopia brings unique appeal for this small but thriving fan group. Some suspect being courted for marketing buzz. This movie will be a huge moment for them. We want to make it as special as possible.

The group is informal and RSVP’s come through private social media.  We can offer confidence with our deposit and references, including (x) who works with us and will vouch for us. Please call me to discuss.

Your theater has a great reputation for (x).  It offers (x) benefits to our members, and promises an extra special experience.  We’re comparing competitive options, but we hope you support community events and will accept us.  Please let me know about available times and rates.

Thanks, (group members, sponsors, contact info.)”

OK Disney… there’s some hype for you.  Now pay me in milk bones. – Patch