When Christopher Nolan rallies in support of a streaming service, you know things are getting serious. Following the outcry among critics, filmmakers, and all reasonable cinema lovers who think it might be a little bit of an issue if films made more than 30 years ago were practically impossible to find on the platform where a growing chunk of the population exclusively finds its entertainment—i.e., streaming—Criterion announced in a press release earlier this afternoon that it will be re-launching the Criterion Channel come spring.
Early adopters may remember the Criterion Channel from when it was part of Hulu; this time around, it’ll be a standalone service, with its own monthly subscription fee. It’ll also be included in Warner’s broader streaming service, which will launch late next year. It’s not clear yet if the new service will just have films from the (admittedly rich) Criterion catalog, or if it will include a handful of non-Criterion titles as well a lá Filmstruck. We’re guessing no, given the name. But the programming will be similar to FilmStruck’s. As Criterion puts it in its press release:
The Criterion Channel will be picking up where the old service left off, programming director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries. We will continue with our guest programmer series, Adventures in Moviegoing. Our regular series like Art-House America, Split Screen, and Meet the Filmmakers, and our Ten Minutes or Less section will all live on, along with Tuesday’s Short + Feature and the Friday Night Double Feature, and of course our monthly fifteen-minute film school, Observations on Film Art.
This good news, of course, comes with a call to open your wallets and subscribe to the new Criterion Channel. You can do that here, for a slightly reduced fee of $9.99 a month/$89.99 a year, down from $10.99 a month/$99.99 a year once it launches. The exact date for that is also currently TBD.
FilmStruck proper shuts down on November 29.