Coronavirus Industry Updates w/c March 23

Monday, March 30 2020
Coronavirus Industry Updates w/c March 23

With the Coronavirus causing disruption to the business, much of the home entertainment business (aka the video industry) working from home and the ever-changing and updating situation surrounding the business, The Raygun will be updating regularly through the hours, days and weeks to let you know what’s happening, what companies are doing, what can be done work-wise, how the industry is coping and more.

To include your updates and breaking news stories and information, email info[at]theraygun[dot]co[dot]uk…

Update Thursday March 26, 5pm
Labels such as our pals at the lovely Second Run are among those who may not hit the headlines in the film press in the way a studio will when it postpones its big summer blockbuster, but these are equally as important to the business as a whole.
And they’re also a fine example to bigger distributors as to how to engage with consumers and develop a relationship with their customers. So it’s good to show how they are responding and their communications with consumers. As well as outlining the problems they face, they are directing them to ways to see films and more. Here’s Second Run’s latest missive, in full…
“Welcome to our latest newsletter with details of our current, new and upcoming releases together with a round-up of film resources we feel might be of interest to you.
“For all of us, these last few weeks have seen extraordinary events unfolding before our eyes. With almost all countries now in varying states of lockdown, and with social and commercial gatherings outlawed, you are in our thoughts and we wish good health to you and your loved ones.
“In these alien and difficult times, we want to thank all our customers, subscribers and friends for their continued enthusiasm and support for Second Run and our releases. We’d also like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the filmmakers and the cinemas and retailers who have supported us not just in recent times but over  the years. Organisations like the ICA, HOME, the BFI, Close-Up, Watershed, the Czech National Archives and Czech Centre London, the Polish Cultural Institute and their Kinoteka Festival – and very many other institutions, venues, festivals and the people who run them. They all need our support too in this difficult time – and when this terrible pandemic has passed please continue to support them. May we all meet again safe and well once this crisis is over.
“Instead of a ‘News’ section this month, we’ve selected a number of resources that might be useful and/or welcome in these coming weeks to stem the boredom of being at home and to promote a community spirit among film lovers.”With that in mind we’re also pressing ahead with new and future Blu-ray and DVD releases and will do our best to maintain our planned release schedule.
“We began 2020 with a new Blu-ray Special Edition of one of our most popular titles – Jaromil Jireš’ enchanting and sensual Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. Mixing horror, fairy tale and surrealism, and with stunning visuals and a transcendent score by the great Luboš Fišer, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders casts a powerful spell and is amongst the most enduring and influential fantasies ever made.
“Our next release is a film from a Canadian director whose work we’ve long admired and wanted to release. Curling is Denis Côté’s enigmatic 2010 feature making its world premiere on Blu-ray. Unsettling, sparse and darkly humorous, the film is a meditation on isolation and the universal need for human connection – something more relevant than ever at the moment. Full details on this release are below.
“During early March we embarked upon our second-ever theatrical release – with Pedro Costa’s exquisite Vitalina Varela being released in UK cinemas on March 6. Winner of the prestigious ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Actress’ Awards at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival, and the Silver Hugo Jury Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival, Vitalina Varelaalso polled at #10 in Sight & Sound magazine’s ‘50 Best Films of 2019’. However, recent events have meant that all cinemas in the UK have closed and  many planned screenings of Vitalina Varela can no longer go ahead as listed. As a result, we have brought our Blu-ray and DVD release forward to May, and also hope to have it present on UK streaming sites and VOD sites shortly.  More details on our Blu-ray and DVD editions are below.
“Also coming soon is Alfréd Radok’s extraordinary Distant Journey (Daleká cesta). Set in the concentration camp and ghetto Terezín, this 1948 film, the first feature to tackle the subject of the Holocaust, is present from a brand-new 4K restoration that recently premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival.  A stark and harrowing warning from history, Distant Journey marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Terezín. More details on this release are below.
“Full details and reviews of all our releases are at our website and all films from our entire catalogue can be purchased directly from there too.. Please browse and experience some more of the diverse selection of great international cinema in the Second Run catalogue.
“Second Run also has its own TwitterYouTube and Facebookpages – do visit us there, ‘like’ us and get regular news and updates.”

Update Wednesday March 25, 5pm
In a sign that digital downloads are thriving during the current crisis, this week’s Official Film Chart, published by BASE in conjunction with the Official Charts Company shows a record-breaking performance from Disney sequel Frozen 2.
The film, the follow-up to one of the biggest physical sellers in industry history, made a strong showing during its digital exclusive window according to this week’s figures.
It achieved 218,700 digital downloads in its first week on sale, taking it past Avengers: Infinity War (214,300), making it the second biggest week one download of all time. Its figures is best only by last year’s Avengers: Endgame, which is way ahead with 335,400.
Disney in its assorted guises and franchises, now has the top three downloads of all time under its belt.

Update Tuesday March 24, 5pm
A statement reaches us from independent operator Lasgo, its md Garry Elwood is a familiar industry face, while the company supplies goods across the entertainment sector.
In a note, Elwood said: “We hope that you, your family, and loved ones are all healthy during these unprecedented times.
“I just wanted to keep you updated with the current plans here at Lasgo.
“All of the friendly Lasgo team are still operating to provide you with our range of services, some of the team are working remotely but there is still a presence in our North London office. Please continue to call or email your account manager or office contact as and when you need to.
|Our distribution centre is still operating and therefore all of the Lasgo ranges of CD, Vinyl, DVD/Blu-Ray, Books, Accessories & Merchandise are still available for same day despatch. We are temporarily lowering the minimum order value for free UK shipment from £250 to £150 to assist our customers in supplying orders, this will be applicable immediately.
“At present, we have plenty of stock in our DC and we will strive to maintain the flow of inbound stock from our various suppliers where possible.
“Of course, all of our current plans are subject to the continuance of all parts of our supply chain.
Thank you for your ongoing support.”

Update Tuesday March 24, 4pm
The BFI has joined forces with the Film and TV Charity to launch a new industry-backed Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund aimed at helping the creative community and the production sector during the crisis.
The initiative, which will support workers and freelancers affected by the shutdowns in production across the business in the UK, kicked off with a donation of £1 million from Netflix. It will give short-term support to those in dire financial straits as a result of the closures and shuttering of production.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said: “The film and TV industry is now facing a huge threat. Many freelancers have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight. We’re entering a period of unprecedented isolation and worry for a workforce that we know from our research already suffers from poor mental health. Which is why I’m incredibly pleased that Netflix and the BFI are working with us to kick-start this new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to support workers across the UK’s film and TV industry.”
Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: ‘‘Freelance professionals are the backbone of our film and television industries, and we hope that everyone will work together to support those who have been hardest hit at this extraordinary time of need. Netflix’s early commitment to this fund is hugely welcomed and we are asking other commercial industry partners to contribute, if they are able, and play their part in helping those most in need get through this crisis.”
Anne Mensah, Vice President, Original Series at Netflix, said: “We’re proud to be working with the BFI and The Film and TV Charity to support the hardest hit workers in TV and film production. UK crews – from electricians to carpenters, hair and makeup artists to drivers – have always been vital to Netflix’s success and now we want to help those freelancers who most need support in these unprecedented times.”
The details are being finalised, but potential applicants should go here to sign up, while anyone requiring help now should go here.

Update Monday March 23, 5pm
Lionsgate has confirmed that homegrown feelgood tale Military Wives, which was unfairly deprived of a longer run at cinemas thanks to the spread of coronavirus, will be hiding to premium vod this Friday (March 27).
The title will, the company said, be available”all premium platforms for a limited time”.
In a statement, Lionsgate chief executive Zygi Kamasa said: “ “The cinematic experience is key to our industry, and exhibitors continue to be our integral partners and allies. With cinemas closed nationwide due to the current climate, we want to continue to make Military Wives available to consumers.”

Update Monday March 23, 3.30pm
News from Powerhouse Films and its Indicator imprint, one of the finest boutique labels around. It has given an update to customers, via Twitter, about its plans going forward and how it will work with mailouts and more…
“In light of the uncertainty surrounding the recent outbreak of COVID-19, our priority continues to be the well-being of our customers, employees and partners, and we are committed to ensuring that our stores and deliveries are operating in the safest way for all. We would like to reassure customers that we are taking all necessary steps to follow the guidance given by the government and the World Health Organisation at this time.
“We continue to be committed to getting your deliveries to you; our website and warehouse remain open with deliveries currently running as normal. Our warehouse works to strict health & safety and public health guidelines and we are continually working with our delivery partners to make sure that we are operating in the safest way possible.
“Many thanks for your orders in our recent sale. Please be aware that we are doing our very best to get your parcels out in these difficult times. Emails querying when orders will be shipped can no longer be responded to. Our capacity, like everyone else’s, is low because of the worldwide pandemic and our admin staff are now packing boxes.
Rest assured we will get your order out asap. Please stay safe and we thank you for your patience.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, our team and partners for your continued support.”

Update March 23, 2pm
The BBFC has said that although classification is, as ever, its priority, there will be some disruption to services. “Current circumstances mean that there will be some disruption to our service over the coming weeks,” it said in a statement issued last week, “but our aim is to make sure that we continue to carry out our important work to the best of our ability whilst protecting our staff’s health and safety.”
In a full statement on its site, the BBFC added: “The BBFC is continuing to adapt its contingency plans in line with the developing situation around coronavirus COVID-19. Following Government advice to businesses, we are closing our premises at 18:00 Friday 20 March until further notice.
“We have activated our business continuity plans and are working to maintain business as usual to the best of our abilities. We are currently running with a reduced capacity and our staff are going to be working from home.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep things moving and we’re prepared to accept your content and view it in any secure digital delivery format that can be supplied to us remotely.
“Theatrical submissions – As we are unable to view theatrical content on site, we are adapting our policy; for the period of our premises closure we will accommodate formal theatrical submissions in a secure non-DCP format. This will allow us to view and classify content remotely so that we can continue our important work on your behalf.
“If you have any questions about how to submit your theatrical content to us, please contact us on helpline@bbfc.co.uk.
“Home entertainment submissions – We continue to be able to accept home entertainment content submitted to us via our secure system. We are currently unable to receive home entertainment packaged media (DVD/Blu-ray) deliveries. The only way we are able to receive and view content is remotely. The content must still be the final version you will release.
“If you have any questions about how to submit your home entertainment content to us, please contact us on helpline@bbfc.co.uk.
“All our customers – All of us at the BBFC extend our warm wishes to all of you, our industry customers, in this very difficult time. We look forward to continuing to serve your needs to the best of our ability during the period of our premises closure and to returning to our on-site service as soon as it is feasible to do so.”

Update March 23, midday
Just to reiterate, hmv has closed all its stores, as a temporary measure. The retailer announced the move on Sunday evening.
Its statement said: “An update from hmv… Thank you all for your support over recent weeks during these unprecedented times of change and uncertainty.
“In our continuing review of the situation and in line with government guidelines we have taken the decision to temporarily close all of our stores from the end of today (Sunday, March 22nd).
“We would like to thank all our teams all over the country for their commitment and how they have continued to serve our customers in their local community.
“We are committed to continuing to serve our customers via hmv.com/store.
“We know our customers will support our decision, and we hope everybody follows the advice from the government.
“And finally, as well as our entire team at hmv and Fopp, we’d also like to say thank you to all of our wonderful NHS staff and all key workers all over the country.
“Stay safe everybody…”
For a full update on the news leading up to and including Sunday March 22 on the video industry and Coronavirus, you can see here .