Many fans of classic films, such as Carole Lombard's comedy "To Be Or Not To Be," are not in a good mood this weekend. That's because on Friday, WarnerMedia stuck a proverbial dagger into their hearts.
FilmStruck, the two-year-old streaming service that was a collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, will shut down effective Nov. 29 as part of a digital "streamlining," AT&T announced (https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/filmstruck-shutdown-warnermedia-turner-1202998364/).
When FilmStruck began, it promised easy, instant access to classic studio fare, arthouse films and independent movies. But wouldn't you know, corporate attitudes and the overriding focus on the bottom line took precedence. Part of the release stated:
"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."
Translation? Goodbye to "The Thin Man," one of the classics in the FilmStruck library...
...hello to "Wonder Woman" and other superhero titles with blockbuster appeal:
After all, arch-rival Disney is feverishly planning its streaming service, highlighted by its Marvel Comics and Star Wars characters, so Warners has to do likewise, right? Fine -- but do films from Ernst Lubitsch, Howard Hawks and other iconic directors have to drop out of the marketplace as a result?
As the site IGN says (https://www.ign.com/articles/2018/10/26/the-death-of-filmstruck-is-a-terrible-thing?fbclid=IwAR179i2ZAbMz-jAhKrVryOFVzd1GktCP0H2enHZVR0PI57vW6_oho34hF1c),
"Ever since the near-complete death of physical media, the notion of a curated online film library has remained frustratingly elusive. Ambitious and well-moneyed collectors can always re-up their Criterion Blu-rays, but when most of the world has adapted to streaming, such a habit remains in the purview of experts, specialists and those with a good deal of disposable income. The democratization of great cinema was nearly realized. Now it has receded a massive step."
For additional reaction, nearly all of it negative (Slate calls it "a slow erosion of cultural heritage under the guise of infinite availability"), visit
As my blogosphere friend Farran Smith Nesme (aka Self-Styled Siren) wrote at Twitter: