The Criterion Collection is officially launching its own independent streaming platform, named The Criterion Channel. The company, in a special arrangement with WarnerMedia, will have a “free-standing streaming service” that is set to launch in Spring 2019. The fate of Criterion has been a burning question for cinephiles since WarnerMedia announced the end of FilmStruck last month. FilmStruck has been the exclusive streaming home for Criterion since its launch in October 2016.
“Today’s announcement ensures that fans will have access to these films from the Criterion Collection as well as films from WarnerMedia’s deep and extensive library in what will be a rich and curated experience, which will further expand the audience footprint for these classic and acclaimed movies,” Criterion said in a statement.
The company added, “The Criterion Channel will be picking up where FilmStruck left off, with thematic programming, regular filmmaker spotlights, and actor retrospectives, featuring major classics and hard-to-find discoveries from Hollywood and around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and original documentaries.”
As part of the deal between Criterion and WarnerMedia, the company will continue to produce its guest programmer series “Adventures in Moviegoing,” which recently featured Barry Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro, Bill Hader, and Mira Nair. Criterion programming “Observations on Film Art” and “Short + Feature” will continue as well, this time as a double-bill on Fridays.
The Criterion Channel announcement follows news that FilmStruck could continue in a different version as part of WarnerMedia’s new streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. Filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, Sean Baker, and Paul Thomas Anderson, among many others, sent letters to Warner Bros. championing FilmStruck and pleading for the service to continue. An online petition fighting to save FilmStruck has earned over 50,000 signatures and counting.
Criterion’s new streaming service will be their first individual streaming platform. Prior to FilmStruck, Hulu was the exclusive streaming home for Criterion.
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