Neon to Release 'Spaceship Earth' Doc in Drive-Ins, Pop-Ups and Online

Spaceship Earth - Sundance - U.S. DOCU - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Sundance

Neon says it wanted to find an innovative way to release Matt Wolf's Sundance film about Biosphere 2.

Neon — home of Oscar winner Parasite — said Tuesday it will release Matt Wolf's Sundance Film Festival documentary Spaceship Earth on a multitude of platforms May 8, including any cinemas that might remain open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Neon has never released a film without the benefit of theaters and Spaceship Earth is no exception to that rule,” Neon founder and CEO Tom Quinn said Tuesday in a statement.

With the vast majority of U.S. movie theaters cinemas shut down due to the coronavirus, Spaceship Earth will play theatrically in participating drive-ins and on select pop-up projections safely accessible to self-distancing moviegoers.

Neon has also arranged with exhibitors to promote the film on theater websites, while the release strategy includes simultaneous digital play on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, FandangoNow, Vudu, DirecTV, Dish and Hulu.

"Even though Spaceship Earth won't be playing in theaters across the country, we hope by making it available 'everywhere,’ the film's release can at least embody the communal spirit of cinema if not the big screen. We miss our partners in exhibition greatly and look forward to cinema's triumphant return," Quinn added.

Spaceship Earth profiles the men and women who as part of Biosphere 2 lived in a self-contained ecological world for two years. Neon says the film's themes are applicable to current times.

Neon has the worldwide rights to the film and plans a separate international launch.

Neon says allowing independent movie theaters, museums, book stores, arts and cultural organizations, nonprofits, restaurants and other severely impacted small businesses to participate in the release will give them the opportunity to stay connected with their communities.

Partners will have the option to host private screenings, as well as to co-host live online Q&A's and panels with filmmakers. A partial list of non-traditional partners includes Atlas Obscura, Earth Day Network, Books are Magic, The Explorers Club, Posteritati, Fernbank Museum, NYC Trivia League, Talcott Mountain Science Center, Santa Monica French bistro Pasjoli and Brooklyn's famous eatery Locanda Vinii & Olie.