Here’s another story of enterprise and innovation among the coronavirus destruction.
U.S. arthouse distributor Kino Lorber is launching a virtual theatrical exhibition initiative called Kino Marquee to enable movie theaters shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak to continue to serve their audiences and generate revenue.
Virtual holdovers will be determined by performance, and revenue will be split between distributor and exhibitor. The initiative is also designed to let movie audiences support their local theaters.
The initiative has been designed to emulate the moviegoing experience as much as possible. Films will be booked from Fridays to Thursdays and presented on dedicated web pages headed by each theater’s branded marquee.
The first Kino Marquee screenings are with New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Jacob Burns Film Center. All will open with Kino Lorber’s well-received Cannes Film Festival title Bacurau, which would otherwise now be on screen in each venue. Other titles are due in coming weeks.
There is a universal price point of $12 and 12 theaters have signed up to date. Scroll down for the list of venues. Invitations are going to all sixty theaters across the U.S. who had already committed to book the film.
Although Kino Marquee is hosted on Kino Lorber’s recently launched Kino Now VOD platform, visitors to the Kino Now website will not be able to navigate to theaters’ virtual screening rooms. Rather, each theater will promote their own film page via traditional means, including reviews, eblasts and social media posts. Virtual ‘ticket’ buyers from the theater’s Kino Marquee site will receive a link that gives them admission to an online screening room.
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and starring Sônia Braga and Udo Kier, Bacurau won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes and went on to play Toronto and New York Film Festivals. Set in a near-future Brazil, the film follows a succession of sinister events that mobilizes all the residents of a village.
FLC opened Bacurau on March 6 and posted good numbers until they elected to close on March 12 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and prioritize the health of their community, and which included cancelling a Q&A with the directors who were over from Brazil. BAM opened the film on March 13 only to show it one day before being forced to shut down, and Jacob Burns had to cancel their March 13 opening that morning.
“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, SVP 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 program offers an opportunity for theaters to generate revenue while their doors are closed.”
Theaters currently aboard:
Film at Lincoln Center (New York, NY)
BAM (Brooklyn, NY)
Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, NY)
The Little Theatre (Rochester, NY)
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Riviera Theatre (Santa Barbara, CA)
The Frida Cinema (Santa Ana, CA)
Denver Film / Sie FilmCenter (Denver, CO)
Belcourt Theater (Nashville, TN)
Loft Cinema (Tucson, AZ)
Austin Film Society (Austin, TX)
Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH)
Aperture Cinema (Winston Salem, NC)