Those saddened by the loss of Warner Bros.’ FilmStruck will soon have a new streaming service option, as The Criterion Channel launches in April. In today’s ever-growing streaming subscription marketplace, there’s a service meant to cover just about every niche, as well as a multitude of generalized services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. For wrestling fans, there’s the WWE Network, for horror lovers, there’s Shudder, for superhero devotees, there’s DC Universe, and for classic film fans, there used to be FilmStruck.
That was until the October 2018 announcement that Warner Bros. was set to close down FilmStruck. This move drew shocked and saddened reactions from those who appreciate vintage films, including several prominent filmmakers, such as Guillermo del Toro and Rian Johnson. Sadly, those pleas to reconsider fell on deaf ears, and FilmStruck streamed its last film at the end of November. One of the marquee features of FilmStruck was the inclusion of The Criterion Collection, which owns the rights to many amazing classic films.
Last fall, Criterion announced that since FilmStruck was closing, they would take it upon themselves to create their own streaming service called The Criterion Channel. Their target for launching the service was spring 2019, and sure enough, Criterion has now announced that The Criterion Channel will officially launch on April 8. Those interested can sign up now as a “Charter Subscriber,” locking in reduced pricing for both the monthly and annual plans, as long as their subscription remains active.
Additionally, Charter Subscribers to The Criterion Channel receive a free 30-day trial period starting on April 8, and can get pre-launch access to select titles via Criterion’s Movie of the Week series. The price difference for Charter Subscribers isn’t really that much, but it’s still a savings worth getting for those who can’t get enough classic movies. The normal Criterion Channel cost is set to be $10.99 per month or $99.99 annually, while Charter Subscribers pay $9.99 per month or $89.99 annually as long as their account stays active.
At launch, The Criterion Channel will be available to watch on computers via a web browser, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, and Android devices. Criterion’s announcement didn’t specify whether or not further devices – such as gaming consoles – will be supported in the future. In addition to the entire Criterion Collection library, The Criterion Channel is said to include “constantly refreshed selections of Hollywood, international, art-house, and independent movies.” While that certainly sounds appealing, one wonders if The Criterion Channel will be able to license some of the big guns from the Warner Bros. library that FilmStruck boasted, such as Casablanca and Citizen Kane.