An elite group of film directors have appealed directly to Warner Bros Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich to try and save FilmStruck, the subscription streaming service that offers indie and prestige titles that are part of the Criterion Collection. This after WarnerMedia said it would shutter the service at the end of this month. All content arms are being evaluated after the AT&T acquisition of the studio as it makes its entry into the OTT streaming game. It looks like FilmStruck — which launched in 2016 with a $7 a month price but has a small pool of subscribers — wasn’t considered big enough to fit into AT&T’s initial grand plans, and the move has roused the likes of Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. The below letter shows that those two filmmakers are in good company, with an appeal from exactly the filmmakers Warner Bros wants to be in business with. It sounds like there is room for a compromise here, and having these directors pushing WarnerMedia director certainly helps. Here’s their letter:
Date: November 12, 2018 at 8:44:29 PM PST
To: Toby Emmerich
We know that Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese have been in touch with you and Warners Media Group about the demise of FilmStruck and have urged you guys to keep it going.
While it was not your decision, we would like to loudly echo their sentiments. The FilmStruck service was (IS) the best streaming service for fans of cinema of all kinds: classic studio movies, independent cinema, international treasures. Without it, the landscape for film fans and students of cinema is especially bleak. There’s a reason there was a huge outpouring from artists and fans over it being shuttered, they were doing the Movie God’s work.
We know one of the reasons that it has been shut down is because of an upcoming Warners streaming service, but really FilmStruck shouldn’t be a conflict of interest. In this day and age where there are dozens of platforms, curation of content is really important and FilmStruck was providing a service to both satisfy older fans of cinema and a younger generation of cineastes that will be making amazing movies long after we’re dead.
In an era of huge corporate acquisitions of cinema by communication companies- in a business that may render billions of dollars off a medium like cinema, we believe this is a gesture that is needed- a minuscule show of goodwill towards the preservation and accesibility of a tradition and a rich history that would benefit the public.
So we want to add our names to the petition started by Marty and Steven and want you (and Warners) to know that we feel equally strongly and would do anything to support the service being saved.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Ana Lily Amirpour
Guillermo Del Toro
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas