Featured The Hustle

At the movies, in your backyard: Fox City Flix creates creates theatrical experiences for families

Family movie night takes an exciting turn with Fox City Flix. The locally owned, family-run business takes the magic of movies to a new level with studio quality screening experiences.

William Green’s Fox City Flix was highlighted in the Entrepreneurs of Color Spotlight series, which highlights entrepreneurs of color to empower and support their businesses. It is sponsored by the Appleton Public Library, ColorBold Business Association and UW-Madison Division of Extension.

Run by the Green family and based in Neenah, Wis., Fox City Flix provides large-screen movie systems with projectors, sound systems and screens for private screening events. Started in 2019, the business was inspired by the Green family’s movie nights in their own backyard. The family experience evolved to community gatherings and went further to provide services under their own screening business.

“When we started this, we started with a TV in our backyard. It was nice, you know, with a TV and being outside, enjoying the outdoor summer weather. I said ‘what else can we do?’” William said.

He began to shop online to see how he could expand their outdoor family movie night. He found some equipment and figured out how to use it. As William saw the excitement from his family, and the growing interest of neighbors, his wife brought up the idea of charging admission due to the high cost of the equipment William had purchased.

Instead of charging his neighbors, William decided to do a trial run to see how much people like the screening experience he started with his family with an eye toward renting the equipment out to others who wanted a similar experience. He was motivated by the excitement he saw and eventually worked up to scaling the experience to Fox City Flix.

The entire Green family has a role in Fox City Flix. His youngest daughter, Justina, has her own self-proclaimed title as the “vice president of people,” where she helps screen potential contractors and partners.

“During all of our interviews, she’s a part of all our interview sessions, and she has three questions she scribbles out on her notepad to ask candidates, technicians or independent contractors in regard to their interest in working with our family business,” William said. “She takes pride in it. She will let me know ‘Daddy hire him. Daddy hire her.’”

Green admires his daughter’s input and to hear her thoughts and cut-and-dried lens on their family business.

“If there’s anything I really love, it’s just hearing input from the future, from the children as it relates to our family-owned business,” he said.

Fox City Flix values the input from each member of the Green family. William is not shy to ask, and seeks out his kids’ opinions on what they should do going forward and how Fox City Flix can better reach the community it serves. One idea they had was a pre-movie dance to create an interactive opportunity to get clients involved with the experience — it also helps Fox City Flix work on the final technical aspects before a screening starts to have everything run as smoothly as possible.

As Fox City Flix has found success, William encourages other entrepreneurs to follow their passion to figure out what they want to pursue.

“I’m going to sound like a commercial… but I would say do your homework, follow your passion. This is a courageous opportunity for you to follow your dreams,” William said. “I would say get yourself organized, write a contract to yourself in regard to getting stuff done because many of us are all busy. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but if you have a dream, stay focused on that dream.”

Fox City Flix can be booked via its website for screening events. It offers indoor and outdoor screening tailored for a variety of events.