A total of 15 percent of all VOD revenues for X Verleih's 'The Kangaroo Chronicles' will go into a fund to help cinemas forced to shut down during the coronavirus crisis.
Germany's cinema associations have set up an emergency fund to help theaters hit by the coronavirus shutdown, and the film that was number one in the German charts when the epidemic hit will be the first to fill the coffers.
The Kangaroo Chronicles, Dani Levy's adaptation of Marc-Uwe Kling's hit German book series, grossed more than $5 million in its initial release in Germany and had topped the box office charts two weeks running when Germany went into near-lockdown and theaters across the country were shuttered in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
Distributor X Verleih will release the film April 2 on VOD and will split the revenue with theaters. The Kangaroo Chronicles will be available to stream for $18.50 16.99 euros, with 15 percent of the VOD revenue going directly to the new emergency fund. AG Kino and HDF Kino, two national associations representing German cinema owners, will handle the fund, using the money to help the country's hardest-hit theaters.
"We're the first to contribute to this project, but hopefully others will join us," X Verleih boss Leila Hamid told The Hollywood Reporter. The Kangaroo Chronicles is the first German film to break the theatrical window by going to VOD so soon after its cinema bow. Films that receive state production subsidies — which is true for The Kangaroo Chronicles — are usually required to hold to a strict windowing system, which requires a gap of at least three months between a film's theatrical and VOD releases. X Verleih got a special dispensation to release the film earlier online.
But the company said this was a one-off exception. "Our motto is still 'Cinema First,'" X Verleih said.
The distributor has promised to do a theatrical rerelease of The Kangaroo Chronicles, with added bonus material, as soon as cinemas reopen.
Right now, everyone is looking for some kind of reprieve from being locked up at home due to the spread of the coronavirus across the United States. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, but The Office executive producers Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman think they’ve figured out a way to make light of the situation by crafting a new workplace comedy series inspired by the sudden rise in employees working from home due to the outbreak of coronavirus forcing people to practice social distancing.
Deadline was first to learn of the currently untitled coronavirus comedy series, though it’s not necessarily about the pandemic. Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, better known to The Office fans as the frequently maligned Toby Flenderson and one of Jim’s business partners at their company Athlead, are creating the series that is said to focus on “wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.”
The series is in the works at Big Breakfast, the comedy production banner Silverman runs, where he’ll executive produce the series along with and Luke Kelly-Clyne College Humor and Kevin Healey Scare Tactics. They’ll also be working with Howard Owens’ Propagate Content, which will have Rodney Ferrell serving as an executive producer as well.
Silverman, who was also once an NBC executive, explained the inception of the series and his hope for what it will become:
“So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.”
While the prospect of trying to craft a series around the coronavirus outbreak sounds like a bad idea at this time, there’s no indication that the pandemic will actually play a part in the overall concept of the series. In fact, it would be easy to pull something like this off without introducing such a grim plot device.
What I’m envisioning with this series is a show with a format that echoes what we’ve seen accomplished with movies like Unfriended and Searching. Both of those films play out entirely on computer or mobile device screens and successfully tell a solid narrative. Modern Family did something similar with an episode that unfolded across the ensemble cast’s various screens, and it worked pretty well. But if that’s what this series will be like, can that concept be sustained for an entire series? Or will they need to take...