PARIS–Pan-European super indie Wild Bunch is kicking off its digital distribution company with Mikkel Nørgaard’s hit ‘Nordic Noir’ thriller “The Keeper of Lost Causes,” based on Jussi Adler-Olsen’s bestselling Department Q literary franchise.
“The Keeper of Lost Causes,” whose Gallic title is “Misericorde,” will roll out on March 27 across most digital platforms – Club Video SFR, FilmoTV, Google Play, iTunes, MyTF1 VOD, Orange, Pluzz VAD, Videofuture and Wuaki.TV. The movie will be available on every ISP operators — Bouygues, Free, Numéricable, Orange and SFR — in order to cover about 80 percent of French households.
Wild Bunch will then release Norgaard’s “The Absent One,” (pictured above) the second opus based Adler-Olsen’s Department Q novels, in French theaters on April 8.
Repped in international markets by TrustNordisk, both “The Keeper of Lost Causes” and “The Absent One” were Denmark’s highest-grossing local films of 2013 and 2014, respectively. Alder-Olsen’s Department Q novels represent one of the Nordics’ best-known franchises, having sold about 10 million copies throughout the world.
Launching its ‘e-cinema’ initiative with Nørgaard’s pics illustrate Wild Bunch’s ambition to venture off the beaten path by acquiring upscale foreign-language indies which may not have huge theatrical potential in a market as competitive as France, but can reach niche audiences via digital distribution.
The two-step strategy that Wild Bunch is orchestrating on the pair of Department Q-based movies is also meant to create an event and build up some buzz on the franchise online to optimize the theatrical release shortly after.
Wild Bunch stated that it plans on distributing one film per month via its e-cinema service and will be looking to expand its reach in European territories such as Germany, Italy and Spain, where its runs distribution operations.
The Paris-based outfit unveiled a raft of acquisitions for this year’s digital distribution slate: Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s “What We Do In The Shadows,” Ramin Bahrani’s “99 Homes,” David Frankel’s “One Chance,” Eli Roth’s “Green Inferno” and Cirian Foy’s “Sinister 2.”
Driven by Wild Bunch’s co-founder Vincent Maraval, the company first tested the potential of e-distribution with Abel Ferrara’s controversial drama “Welcome to New York,” which was released exclusively on digital platforms in France, in day-and-date with other territories.
Although France has a very strict release schedule giving exhibitors and pay TV channels exclusive windows, Wild Bunch is not violating that schedule since none of the films it has acquired for digital distrib were pre-financed by French TV channels or picked up for theatrical distribution.
“In the U.S., digital players have rescued independent FILMS by providing them with a viable alternative when traditional specialty distributors like Picturehouse and Paramount Classics vanished. And in a way, we strive to play a similar role in Europe, where independent distributors are increasingly struggling (…), have more and more difficulty selling movies to traditional Pay TV channels and are faced with skyrocketing P&A costs and faster-than-ever turnover rate in theaters,” Maraval told Variety when announcing the venture in October.