How Kino Marquee’s Virtual Theatrical Model is Helping Cinemas Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Daniel Loria


Virtual theater website:

Kino Lorber’s theatrical release of festival hit Bacurau, which garnered critical praise at major events like Cannes and NYFF, began its run in New York City on March 6. An expansion to arthouse theaters nationwide was scheduled for the ensuing weeks, but was ultimately cut short as COVID-19 began its spread across the country. With its theatrical commitments cut short by the virus, the distributor quickly came together to discuss next steps to salvage the film’s release. Rather than opting for a traditional home entertainment launch, the way bigger studios like Paramount and Universal have, Kino Lorber decided to create a program that would share revenues of digital rentals of the film with the arthouse cinemas affected by the crisis.

The program, Kino Marquee, was rolled out days after cinemas announced they would be suspending operations due to the coronavirus. Starting with 11 cinemas, the virtual theatrical program now counts more than 150 participating movie theaters. 


It is a virtual theater reunion to support the independent movie theaters. The utilizations of the film resources of those theaters can help to meet the needs of indie movie lovers. During the pandemic, independent movie theaters took the hardest blow in the film industry since they have the least funding options and less exposure to the public. By renting out the movies they have on hand to the enthusiasts who would like to rent, these independent movie theaters have a better chance for survival.