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Criterion Collection’s Classic Movie Streaming Service Sets April Launch Date

Movie buffs left out in the cold by FilmStruck’s demise will soon get a new streaming service stocked with over 1,000 classic and contemporary art-house films this spring: The Criterion Collection announced that the Criterion Channel will launch April 8 in the U.S. and Canada.

The Criterion Channel will be regularly priced at $10.99 per month or $99.99 for an annual subscription. Customers who sign up now as charter subscribers will receive a special discounted rate of $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year — pricing the company says will be locked in “for as long as you stay active” — as well as a 30-day free trial.

The Criterion Channel (criterionchannel.com) will be available on computers, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, and Android devices.

Criterion didn’t reveal specific titles that will be available on Criterion Channel but said the subscription VOD service will include access to Criterion’s entire streaming library of more than 1,000 classic and contemporary films from around the world.

Movies in Criterion Collection’s catalog include Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” Akira Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai,” Sidney Lumet’s  “12 Angry Men,” Robert Altman’s “3 Women,” George Sluizer’s “The Vanishing,” Fritz Lang’s “M,” Charles Laughton’s “The Night of the Hunter,” Wong Kar-wai’s “In the Mood for Love,” Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove.”

The company said the service will offer “constantly refreshed selections” of Hollywood, international, art-house, and independent movies. Criterion Channel also will include a Sunday Spotlight feature, focusing on a different director, star, genre, or theme as well as exclusive content like guest programmer series Adventures in Moviegoing, Tuesday’s Short + Feature, the Friday Night Double Feature, Meet the Filmmakers, Art-House America, and Observations on Film Art (billed as a 15-minute-per-month film school).

Previously, FilmStruck was the exclusive U.S. home for Criterion’s film catalog. In mid-November, Criterion Collection announced a deal with WarnerMedia to allow Criterion to launch an independent streaming service.

In announcing the decision to shutter FilmStruck at the end of November 2018, Turner and Warner Bros. Digital Networks said in part, “While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios.”

The decision to shutter FilmStruck sparked a backlash among film buffs, Hollywood directors and actors. Barbra Streisand and Guillermo del Toro were among more than 40,000 people who signed a petition to save FilmStruck.

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