Kino Lorber is launching a virtual theatrical exhibition initiative in a bid to serve current releases and local theatres that have closed due to coronavirus pandemic.
The Kino Marquee initiative involves virtual releases with participating theatres for first-run and repertory titles from Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist, “at least until theatres are able to reopen.”
The first film is Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Brazilian thriller Bacurau, which would have been in theatres now. Participating theatres are New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Jacob Burns Film Center.
Kino Marquee is hosted on Kino Lorber’s Kino Now VOD platform and virtual ticket buyers will receive a link to an online screening room. Films will be booked from Fridays to Thursdays and virtual holdovers will be determined by performance, and revenue will be split 50-50 between distributor and exhibitor.
Each participating theatre will promote its own film page via traditional means, including reviews, eblasts and social media posts. The virtual screening rooms for all theatres will become operational over the next few days.
Invitations going to all 60 cinemas across the country that had already committed to book Bacurau, which include Santa Barbara International Film Festival Riviera Theatre in California, Sie Film Center in Denver, Colorado, and Austin Film Society in Austin, Texas.
Bacurau opened at Film at Lincoln Center on March 6 before the cinemas close on March 12. BAM screened it for a single day, while Jacob Burns had to cancel its March 13 opening on the same day.
“When theaters started to close, we at Kino Lorber turned our thoughts to how we could collaborate with our independent theater partners across the country. We cannot release the kinds of films we do without their support,” said Wendy Lidell, senior vice-president of theatrical distribution at Kino Lorber.
“Of course we wanted to find a way to keep our current film release in front of audiences, but to do so in a way that would also benefit our exhibition partners. We want to help ensure that these theaters will be able to reopen their doors after this crisis passes. The Kino Marquee programme offers an opportunity for theaters to generate revenue while their doors are closed.”
The Kino Marquee initiative will be scaled up in the coming weeks in response to market demand. Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber said: “As a company whose mantra has always been “experience cinema” we’re keen to help our exhibition partners maintain their visibility and value in launching the whole media career of the carefully curated films we all care so much about. We’re all in this together and will come through it stronger with the support of the film loving communities our theaters serve.”