Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection are joining forces to launch FilmStruck, a subscription movie streaming service that will feature, according to their press release, “a comprehensive and constantly refreshed library of films comprised of an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films.” Or, as writer Brandon Nowalk puts it, “They finally made a Netflix for movies!”
It’s direly needed. As we’ve mentioned before, Netflix may be the go-to movie streaming service, but it doesn’t exactly offer up a wealth of choices in the realm of classic cinema.Their library is determined based not on curatorship or history, but on licensing deals; as a result, it’s filled with comically giant gaps. As of this writing, they stream not one film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Elia Kazan, or Frank Capra; exactly two by Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder; and three by John Ford. And film writer Matt Singer recently tweeted this image of “every comedy from before 1960 currently available on Netflix”:
The Turner library is, to put it mildly, more expansive. Ted Turner launched TCM with titles from his own Turner Entertainment film library, from MGM pre-1986 and Warner Brothers pre-1950; they’ve since supplemented that deep bench with classics from other studios. But their library was previously only available online via their Watch TCM app, which only offers films that have recently aired on the network.
Criterion is, of course, the gold standard for classic titles on home video – and FilmStruck will be the “new exclusive streaming home” for the Criterion library, indicating an end to their arrangement with Hulu (a deal seen as a possible game-changer when it was announced back in 2011, but Hulu’s inability to supplement the Criterion library with any other films of note kept it from become a destination site for film lovers). FilmStruck also promises “a deep roster of films from such celebrated indie studios as Janus Films, Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist,” and their list of sample titles goes clear up to ‘80s and ‘90s films like Blood Simple, My Life as a Dog, and The Player.
However, classics will clearly be their bread and butter, and good for them. Price points have not yet been announced, and the launch date is a vague “Fall 2016.” But it’s coming, and hurray for that. More info – and a really jazzy trailer – is available at filmstruck.com.