FilmStruck is making Casablanca and several other classic Warner movies available for streaming. The streaming revolution, in a lot of ways, has been great for movie fans. It puts thousands of film options, at the touch of a button, in front of audiences, without requiring them to leave their homes. Watching movies is easier than ever. However, there’s been one huge downside to the rise of Netflix, Hulu, and their competitors: a glaring lack of older titles. Netflix, in particular, is significantly lacking in movies from before 1970.
That lack of older movies was part of the impetus behind the arrival of FilmStruck, a streaming service that launched in November 2016. Owned by Turner Broadcasting and containing Turner Classic Movies branding, FilmStruck is geared towards moviegoers who are into the older stuff (as well as independent movies of more recent vintage) and it pulled off a coup last year, when it grabbed the streaming rights to the Criterion Collection, previously available on Hulu. Now, FilmStruck has added another major source of programming.
FilmStruck has reached a deal with Warner Bros. Digital Networks to stream a collection of movies from the Warner Bros. film library. According to THR, the deal will deliver such classic movies as Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Singin’ in the Rain, Rebel Without a Cause, Bringing Up Baby, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and the original The Music Man. All of these titles will stream exclusively on Filmstruck.
As part of the deal, Warner will shut down its existing Warner Archive streaming service, and all subscriptions to that service will be rolled into FilmStruck, according to THR. The FilmStruck service will also include a series of “TCM Select” features, including special bonus material as well as introductions from TCM presenter Ben Mankiewicz.
The FilmStruck deal is great news for film culture as a whole. For years, a lot of cinema lovers have given themselves an informal education on film history, either from video store rentals, DVD purchases, or merely intensive TCM viewing. The lack of older titles on Netflix has made doing so harder, but the continued viability of FilmStruck (especially now that it will offer some of the greatest films of all time) is great news for the next generation of streaming cinema fans.
What FilmStruck's new titles mean to the streaming wars as a whole - especially with Disney preparing to launch its own competitor - is likely to shake out in the coming years. The service is available now, at three different pricing tiers: $6.99 a month, $10.99 a month and $99 per year.