Criterion isn’t taking FilmStruck’s closure lying down, as the curator of classic and contemporary films has announced an all-new independent Criterion Channel will launch in the spring of 2019. The news of FilmStruck's demise came late in October, following the merger between AT&T and Time Warner. In an effort to justify its shuttering, Warner Digital Media described FilmStruck as “largely a niche service,” a description that didn’t go over too well with the more than 50,000 people who signed the change.org petition to save it, or with the many filmmakers and actors who recently signed a letter to Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, Toby Emmerich.
Among the filmmakers were Guillermo del Toro, Edgar Wright, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alfonso Cuarón, Rian Johnson, Christopher McQuarrie, Reed Morano, Barbara Streisand, Barry Jenkins, and more. As the letter noted, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese were both in touch with Emmerich regarding the closing of FilmStruck, all of which served to demonstrate just how important the service was to film lovers and those interested in the smart curation and preservation of both classic and contemporary films. Though it doesn’t seem likely that FilmStruck will be saved in its current state, those filmmakers, subscribers, and anyone who signed the petition will likely be pleased to know Criterion is striking out on its own to keep the FilmStruck experience going.
The Criterion Collection announced yesterday on its website plans for the Criterion Channel in the spring of 2019. It did so with a terrific video that you can watch here, one that highlighted the many reasons to subscribe to FilmStruck beyond the collection of Criterion films and the classic Warner Bros. library. Criterion laid its plans out with a full statement, part of which you can read below:
“We’ve been trying to make something a little different for the past two years—a movie lover’s dream streaming service, with smart thematic programming, where the history of cinema can live and breathe, where a new generation of filmmakers and film lovers can explore the classics or revel in rarities, where adventurous cinephiles can champion films that have never gotten their due, and newcomers can easily find guidance from major filmmakers, top scholars, curators, and other experts from all walks of life.”
Those eager to sign up for the new service can do so now, and earn some pretty great perks for being a charter member. And while it will be difficult to see FilmStruck go in just a few days time, knowing the Criterion Channel is just around the corner does soften the blow considerably.
The Criterion Channel is expected to launch in the spring of 2019.
Source: The Criterion Collection