Kino Lorber
FormerlyKino International
Founded1977; 47 years ago (1977)
FounderBill Pence
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, United States
ProductsMotion pictures

Kino Lorber is an international film distribution company based in New York City. Founded in 1977, it was originally known as Kino International until it was acquired by and merged into Lorber HT Digital in 2009. It specializes in art house films, such as documentary films, classic and rarely seen films from earlier periods in the history of cinema, and world cinema. In addition to theatrical distribution, Kino Lorber releases films in the home entertainment market and has its own streaming services for its digital library.


1976–2008; Founding as Kino International

Kino Lorber was founded as Kino International in 1976 by Bill Pence, then vice president of Janus Films, and based in Colorado.[1] It began by importing and releasing international films that may have not otherwise reached the market in the United States. The first films distributed by Kino were in association with Janus Films.

In 1977, Kino International was purchased by Donald Krim who at the time worked for United Artists as the head of the nontheatrical department.[2] At this time, the company acquired rights to distribute theatrically films in the Janus Films library, which became the foundation for its international library of films.[3] One of the first films imported under Krim was Ballad of Orin.[4]

Kino International was responsible for the theatrical release of films by Charlie Chaplin beginning in 1977.[5] The Chaplin films became the foundation of a silent film collection for Kino International[3] including the 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis.[6]

By 1989, American classics accounted for 80 percent of the company's distributions, with the other 20 percent made up of international films.[7]

Since 2009; Merger with Lorber HT Digital

In 2009, Kino International was acquired by Lorber HT Digital to form Kino Lorber.[8]

Kino Lorber launched its "Kino Lorber Studio Classics" line of films in 2014. Its licensing deal with MGM allowed them access to MGM's library of remastered and high-definition films. It released approximately 40 films by the end of 2014, including the Billy Wilder films Witness for the Prosecution and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.[9]

In 2017, Kino Lorber entered into a partnership with Zeitgeist Films to co-acquire films for theatrical release and taking over home entertainment distribution of their library.[10]

In 2019, Kino Lorber launched a digital streaming service known as "Kino Now." Described as an "arthouse iTunes," it allows the purchase and rentals of films in its distribution library.[11]

During the COVID-19 pandemic lock-downs in 2020, Kino Lorber launched an online distribution service to stream new films in partnership with closed theaters.[12] Known as "Kino Marquee," the service was seen as a way to help closed theaters generate revenue during the pandemic,[12] splitting revenue equally with participating cinemas.[13]

In 2021, Kino Lorber launched "Kino Cult," a free ad-supported streaming channel for genre films. It also entered into a distribution and acquisition agreement with Milestone Films, a New York–based film company known for restoring and distribution of American classic films.[14]

On August 29, 2023, Kino Lorber announced via email that "Kino Cult" was being replaced by "The Midnight Picture Show," "a new free streaming service featuring more movies from the deliciously dark and devilishly bizarre side of cinema."

Business model

Kino Lorber has historically been known as a distributor of American classics and international films.[15] When founded in 1977, American classics was 100 percent of its distribution, moving to 80/20 with international films by 1989.[7]


By 2023, Kino Lorber had over 4,000 titles in its curated library, including:[16]


  1. ^ Leogrande, Ernest (27 August 1976). "The once and future Kong". The Daily News (New York).
  2. ^ Guider, Elizabeth (9 December 2009). "Lorber film label acquires Kino Int'l". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ a b Nichols, Peter (17 August 1997). "An Eye for the Small, the Old, the Out of the Way". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 May 2015.
  4. ^ Kehr, Dave (22 May 2011). "Donald Krim, Film Distributor, Dies at 65". New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011.
  5. ^ Blank, Ed (21 December 1988). "Chaplin films losing their theatrical pull". The Pittsburgh Press.
  6. ^ Bledsoe, Wayne (17 May 2003). "Restored version of sci-fi landmark Metropolis makes TV Debut Sunday". The Leaf-Chronicle.
  7. ^ a b Krasnow, Iris (12 February 1989). "Chaplin films pulled for 100 birthday". Scrantonian Tribune.
  8. ^ Theilman, Sam (2009-12-09). "Kino Intl., Lorber HT Digital merge". Archived from the original on 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  9. ^ Axmaker, Sean. "Videophiled Classic: Kino Lorber Studio Classics launches its first wave with two Billy Wilder classics, 'Marty,' 'Separate Tables,' and more". CinePhiled.
  10. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony. "New York Indie Distributors Kino Lorber & Zeitgeist Films Enter Multi-Year Partnership". Deadline.
  11. ^ Lindahl, Chris (1 October 2019). "Kino Lorber Eyes 'Arthouse iTunes' With Launch of Its Own Streaming Platform". IndieWire.
  12. ^ a b Fortmueller, Kate (2021). Hollywood Shutdown. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9781477324622.
  13. ^ Kay, Jeremy (9 May 2020). "Kino Marquee virtual cinema releases to cross $400,000 this week". Screen Daily.
  14. ^ Kay, Jeremy (2 June 2021). "Kino Lorber, film preservationist Milestone Films strike multi-year pact (exclusive)". Screen Daily.
  15. ^ Eder, Bruch (1 September 1987). "The Decline of Revival Cinema". Newsday.
  16. ^ Lang, Brent (10 January 2022). "Kino Lorber Taps Martha Benyam as Chief Operating Officer (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  17. ^ Complex, Valerie. "Kino Lorber Acquires AfroFuturist Musical 'Neptune Frost' By Saul Williams And Anisia Uzeyman". Deadline.
  18. ^ Grobar, Matt. "'Ahed's Knee': Kino Lorber Takes North American Rights To Cannes Jury Prize Winner". Deadline.
  19. ^ Stanzione, Davide. "Diabolik: la trilogia dei Manetti Bros. sbarca anche negli Stati Uniti. Tutti i dettagli". Best Movie (in Italian). Retrieved 2023-02-19.
  20. ^ Kay, Jeremy (18 January 2019). "Cult British reggae film 'Babylon' to get first ever US release". Screen Daily. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Crossing the Line". Kino Lorber. Retrieved 19 September 2020.