Kino Lorber Launches Online Movie Theater Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Cannes Film Festival
'Bacurau'

Kino Marquee will allow cinemas shuttered by the virus outbreak to reach audiences with virtual screening rooms, with the Sonia Braga-starrer 'Bacurau' to serve as the first offering.

With cinema giants shutting down across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, Kino Lorber on Thursday said it is launching a online movie screening alternative called Kino Marquee.

Kino Marquee will open with Bacurau, directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and starring Sonia Braga and Udo Kier, which would otherwise have screened in traditional theaters. The initiative, which will consist of virtual screening rooms for participating theaters, aims to allow movie chains closed down for social distancing to continue reaching audiences and generating revenue.

"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,” Wendy Lidell, senior vp theatrical distribution at Kino Lorber, said in a statement.

The first Kino Marquee screenings online are with New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Jacob Burns Film Center, Santa Barbara Film Festival's Riviera Theater, The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, Denver Film, Austin Film Society and Loft Cinema in Tuscon, Arizona, among others.

Films will be booked from Fridays to Thursdays and presented on dedicated webpages headed by each theater’s branded marquee. Virtual ticket buyers on the Kino Marquee site will receive a link allowing admission to an online screening room.

How long a movie runs will be determined by online performance, and revenue for the Kino Marquee platform will be split between distributor and exhibitor. Kino Lorber insists the Kino Marquee virtual screenings are not a VOD offering, even though they run on the distributor's Kino Now VOD platform.

The online theatrical platform is being touted instead as a virtual alternative to physical theaters otherwise shuttered during the virus outbreak. “The Kino Marquee program offers an opportunity for theaters to generate revenue while their doors are closed," said Lidell.

Initially, Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist first-run and repertory titles are headed to the Kino Marquee platform until theaters are able to reopen.