Film stalwarts save one of the few cinephile-friendly streaming services

Film stalwarts save one of the few cinephile-friendly streaming services
Credit: Criterion

One of the few streaming services dedicated to classic movies was recently earmarked for destruction. After one prolonged outcry from the film industry and fans, the Criterion Collection announced it’d be reviving a version of the same service, making life just a bit easier for amateur cinephiles out there.

Last month, the Turner Classic Movies streaming service, Filmstruck, became a casualty of the AT&T merger with Time Warner Cable. Called “subscale” by the former company, it was set to be quietly shut down in time for the big Warner Media streaming service due to launch sometime in the future.

As I’ve previously observed, it’s really darned hard to be a cinephile with the most popular streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO seem to offer only a miniscule number of classics at any given time, leaving open a chance for anyone to take advantage of this deficit. Filmstruck was one of the services that filled the gap, and its closure meant the stoppering of a rare source of classic film. With its ignominious death, the whole genre of film appeared to be in a pretty bleak position.

Within days, a massive petition to save Filmstruck began, garnering over 50,000 signatures. According to Hollywood Reporter, the massive campaign led to a smaller, more directed effort involving some of the most respected names in film. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo del Toro — someone lit a very specific Batsignal over Filmstruck, and it appears the company sat up and took notice.

According to Criterion:

We are incredibly touched and encouraged by the flood of support we’ve been receiving since the announcement that FilmStruck will be shutting down on November 29, 2018. Our thanks go out to everyone who signed petitions, wrote letters and newspaper articles, and raised your voices to let the world know how much our mission and these movies matter to you. 

Criterion specified the films would be available both on this independent streaming service and the future WarnerMedia site — meaning cinephiles might, at least for a while, have the option of partaking of its font of classics while not having to buy into the entire AT&T streaming service.

The Criterion Channel will launch next spring. According to the company’s site, the subscription fee will be $10.99 a month, though early adopters will be able to get it for a reduced price ($9.99 a month).

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