“If This Was a Movie”: Owners of drive-in theater want credit for use in Taylor Swift lyric video

Reggie Casagrande

The lyric video for Taylor Swift‘s folklore track “this is me trying” has put a drive-in movie theater in Greenville, New York, in the spotlight — and the owners want some credit.

Drive-In 32 is displaying a sign claiming it is “the world’s most viewed drive-in screen,” because its screen is the one shown in the lyric video, which has amassed 17 million views in the past three years. However, you wouldn’t know that by watching the video: There aren’t any signs or distinguishing marks identifying the screen as belonging to the drive-in.

On the theater’s official Instagram feed, a message explains that the owners had no idea the screen was in the video. Apparently, sometime in the winter of 2018 or 2019 — when the theater was closed for the season — a freelance photographer “entered our property without permission and began filming.”

According to the message, this photographer then offered the footage for sale online as “abandoned upstate NY drive-in theatre.” Taylor’s creative team purchased a license for the footage for $75 and, the message states,  created the lyric video by editing together “14 loops of the original 11-second clip,” then adding the lyrics on the screen.

“After one of our eagle-eyed Swiftie staffers quickly brought it to our attention, we did attempt to reach out to Taylor’s team to politely ask if they might identify and credit the drive-in as the location for the music video,” the message continues. “Alas, we have yet to receive a response from her representatives.”

While its owners wait for acknowledgment, the theater is hosting a Taylor Swift-themed karaoke night July 28, with the lyrics projected onto the screen. 

The message concluded, “We might even do a group sing-a-long of ‘this is me trying.'”

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