Four Netflix Films Join Criterion Collection

Four Netflix films — Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory and Mati Diop’s Atlantics — will join the Criterion Collection in 2020.

These four films will join Alfonso Cuaron’s three-time Academy Award winning Roma, which was previously announced as the first Netflix film to receive a home video debut via the Criterion Collection. Roma will be available on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 11.

The Irishman, a mob film starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, has received five Golden Globe nominations, 10 BAFTA nominations, and 10 Academy Award nominations, in addition to being named Best Film of the Year by the National Board of Review and NY Film Critics Circle. With his ninth directing nomination, Martin Scorsese is the most-nominated living director in Academy history.

Marriage Story, a drama starring Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver, won Best Film at the Gotham Awards and received six Golden Globe nominations, the most of any film, with Laura Dern winning the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress. This was followed by six Academy Award nominations. It has received multiple SAG, BAFTA and PGA nominations.

American Factory premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival where directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary. Produced with Participant Media, American Factory is the first title presented by President and Mrs. Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. Since its August release, the film has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary as well as the Best Documentary BAFTA award. For Reichert, American Factory marks her fourth Oscar nomination.

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Atlantics premiered in competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Prix. The film is Diop’s feature directorial debut and she is the first black woman to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. The film went on to play the Toronto Film Festival, where Diop was awarded the inaugural Mary Pickford Award, recognizing emerging female talent. Atlantics was on the Academy shortlist for the Best International Feature Film Oscar and Diop received a DGA Nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director.

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Each Criterion Collection release will include exclusive behind-the-scenes content, special features and a filmmaker-supervised master.

The Roma Criterion release will include Road to Roma, a new documentary about the making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Cuarón, as well as many other special features.

Criterion Collection Launching Streaming Service as FilmStruck Alternative

Following subscriber pushback regarding the shuttering of Turner Classic Movies SVOD service FilmStruck, The Criterion Collection announced it will launch its own freestanding service in spring 2019 through a special arrangement with WarnerMedia.

Wholly owned and controlled by the Criterion Collection, the independent Criterion Channel will pick up where it left off as an add-on to the FilmStruck service, with thematic programming, regular filmmaker spotlights, and actor retrospectives, featuring major classics and hard-to-find titles from Hollywood and around the world, complete with special features, including  commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and original documentaries.

The venerable library of films will also be part of WarnerMedia’s recently announced direct-to-consumer platform slated to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. WarnerMedia is shutting down FilmStruck Nov. 29.

WarnerMedia — formed following AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner — announced the pending service “ensures that fans” have access to not only films from the Criterion Collection but also WarnerMedia’s extensive library “in what will be a rich and curated experience, which will further expand the audience footprint for these classic and acclaimed movies.”

Indeed, when news broke about the demise of FilmStruck, no less than Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, among other industry heavyweights, reportedly contacted WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey personally asking about an alternative solution.

Criterion’s new service will continue to produce guest programmer series “Adventures in Moviegoing,” which has featured cinephile luminaries such as Barry Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro, Bill Hader and Mira Nair. Criterion’s monthly 15-minute film school “Observations on Film Art,” “Tuesday’s Short + Feature” and the “Friday Double-Bill” will all be back as well.

Launched in 1984 with the Laserdisc releases of Citizen Kane (1941) and King Kong (1933), The Criterion Collection became known for its special-edition DVD and later Blu-ray Disc releases of restored classic films.

In 2011, Hulu licensed select Criterion titles for streaming, an arrangement  FilmStruck acquired in 2016.

Criterion announced it expects the new service to be available in the United States and Canada at launch, rolling out to additional territories over time.

Fans can sign up for the new service at Criterion.com/channel.

Charter members, following a 30-day free trial, will receive a reduced rate of $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year for as long as they keep their subscription active. Charter members also receive a gift certificate for the Criterion website, a membership card and concierge customer service, including a customer ID and special e-mail address.

The regular post-launch rate will be $10.99 per month or $100 per year.

WarnerMedia Shuttering FilmStruck SVOD Service

Looking to further consolidate its over-the top video strategy, WarnerMedia Oct. 26 disclosed it is closing FilmStruck, the film streaming service from Turner Classic Movies catering to rare, classic, foreign, arthouse, and independent cinema.

The Atlanta-based service launched in November 2016 and succeeded Hulu as the exclusive online streaming home of the Criterion Collection in the United States.

“We regret to inform you that FilmStruck will be shutting down. Our last day of service will Nov. 29, and we are currently no longer enrolling new subscribers,” the service said on its website.

The move comes shortly after WarnerMedia – which was created following AT&T’s $85 billion purchase of Time Warner – shuttered Korean-themed movie SVOD service DramaFever, based in New York.

FYE Chain Bows Exclusive Collector’s Edition of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ for Film’s 50th

Trans World Entertainment-owned retail chain FYE, for your entertainment, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead with an exclusive collector’s edition.

The set features the “Criterion Collection” two-disc Blu-ray featuring the original premiere version of the film, restored and remastered in 4K Ultra HD from the original camera negative and supervised by Romero with the support of the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Foundation. It includes new and archival footage, interviews, and commentary from the original cast and creators.

The collection also features a limited edition, 250-page graphic novel based on the film with covers by Stephen R. Bissette, art by Richard Bonk, and exclusive photos and interviews with the original 1968 cast and filmmakers.

Also included are the original eight 1968 lobby cards from the release of the film, remastered with gold foil lettering, specially re-designed to celebrate the anniversary. Also, the chain has randomly inserted 250 of the boxes with an additional lobby card autographed by Johnny of “They’re coming to get you, Barbra” fame, played by actor Russell Streiner.

There is also an exclusive poster of the character Karen Cooper, played by Kyra Schon, and a special edition commemorative ticket specially designed with gold foil to commemorate the 50th Anniversary.

Collectors can pick up a copy on FYE.com or at any FYE location.

The newly restored and remastered version of Night of the Living Dead is returning to movie theaters nationwide Oct. 24-25 presented by Fathom Events, Image Ten and Living Dead Media, in association with Janus Films and the “Criterion Collection.”

FilmStruck Adds Warner Bros. Classic Movies

Movie streaming service FilmStruck Feb. 26 announced it is adding select classic Warner Bros. titles, including Casablanca, The Thin Man, Citizen Kane and Rebel Without a Cause, among others.

The $6.99 monthly service launched in 2016 by Turner. The unit is owned by Warner Bros. parent Time Warner. For $10.99, subs get access to digitally remastered titles from The Criterion Collection.

Despite the same corporate umbrella, Time Warner units Turner, Warner Bros. and HBO have not historically worked together. With the advent of digital distribution, over-the-top video and eroding traditional markets, improved cooperation between business units has become the order of the day.

Indeed, appointment of former Warner Bros. Home Entertainment boss Kevin Tsujihara in 2013 to head the venerable studio underscored Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ desire to expand digital distribution, in addition to internal synergies.

While many of the Warner titles would appeal to the Turner Classic Movies pay-TV channel, the service is targeting younger demos – the ones well-versed with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

In fact, FilmStruck laster this year will incorporate Warner Archive Collection, a $9.99 monthly streaming service launched in 2013 that failed to generate a sustainable subscriber base.

“It was a no-brainer,” Craig Hunegs, president of Warner Bros. Digital Networks, told The Los Angeles Times. “Turner has built a great service in FilmStruck, and it’s perfect because we are all in the same company.”