FilmStruck has officially launched in the UK, and the streaming site’s secret weapon is thinking broad.
The site, which first began in the US, is a joint venture between Turner International’s Digital Ventures & Innovation Group and Warner Bros. Digital Networks. Now, the subscription service has teamed up with the UK’s own Curzon as it makes its first steps into international waters. Branded as FilmStruck Curzon, the site costs £5.99 a month or £59.90 for a year’s subscription, both of which are available with a 14-day free trial.
“The slight difference is the US is a little more arthouse/niche. We’ve taken a much broader approach here,” explained a spokesperson for Turner at the site’s official launch last night.
That’s partly by teaming up with Curzon, which gives the service access to the Curzon Artificial Eye library.
“Everybody knows Curzon, it’s a great, well-respected, iconic brand in the UK,” added Turner’s spokesperson. “They’re known for their curation of films, which is in line with the service. If you go to the cinema at Curzon, you have a great experience, and it’s focused on the customer experience. It’s very much in line between the two companies.”
FilmStruck also has access to the library of Warner Bros., naturally, plus deals with Lionsgate and Park Circus. Perhaps the feather in the original site’s cap, though, is The Criterion Collection, a label that dedicates itself to old and contemporary classics, packaged in special edition home entertainment releases, with in-depth bonus content. Criterion also plays a role in the UK site’s catalogue, albeit to a lesser degree. There are a total of 34 Criterion titles on the site at its launch, plus nine Bonus Content videos – you can read a full list of those below.
However, FilmStruck UK is keen to aim wider than arthouse and world cinema, embracing mainstream titles too. The result is targeting a middle ground between big and little streaming services – an attempt to distinguish itself from its more natural subscription streaming rivals, MUBI and BFI Player+ (£5.99 and £4.99 a month, respectively).
“Some of the smaller services are too niche, too focused on arthouse, which is great,” commented Turner’s spokesperson, “and some of the bigger ones like Netflix and Amazon just don’t have enough. I spend endless time browsing through Netflix and Amazon and I give up.”
The site is still in its early stages, with a promise to be available on Amazon Fire TV, but not present on all versions of the device, while it is only compatible with 4th generation or later Apple TV boxes. Apps are, however, available for iOS and Android devices, while it is also available via web browsers on computers. (A Chromecast launch is planned for the first half of this year.)
With menus that handily divide titles into genres and themed collections, the result is a small line-up, compared to Netflix, but one that’s bigger than MUBI’s monthly cycle of 30 films, with titles ranging from Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Little Shop of Horrors to Bonnie and Clyde, 1973’s Westworld, American Psycho, Reservoir Dogs, Magnolia and Badlands. The Gold Rush and Battleship Potemkin are also present, alongside Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique (1966), and a splash of Hitchcock, including I Confess and Dial M for Murder.
Whether that will be enough to stand out from the crowded landscape of streaming services, time will tell. For now, FilmStruck will be hoping to become the Goldilocks of UK VOD, with a catalogue that’s just right. To browse it yourself, head to www.filmstruck.com.
Watch this space for a review of FilmStruck UK, plus recommendations, highlights and more.
Criterion titles on FilmStruck UK:
COME AND SEE
BOB DYLAN: DONT LOOK BACK
JIMI PLAYS MONTEREY
THE BROWNING VERSION
MIKEY AND NICKY
THE MUSIC ROOM
AND GOD CREATED WOMAN
CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT
F FOR FAKE
LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART AT THE RIVER STYX
LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART IN PERIL
LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART TO HADES
LONE WOLF AND CUB: SWORD OF VENGEANCE
LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART IN THE LAND OF DEMONS
LONE WOLF AND CUB: WHITE HEAVEN IN HELL
THE STEAMROLLER AND THE VIOLIN
THE RULING CLASS
FOR ALL MANKIND
Bonus Content on FilmStruck UK:
D. A. PENNEBAKER AND BOB NEUWIRTH (Interview)
EDUARD ARTEMYEV ON SOLARIS (Interview)
EDUARD ARTEMYEV ON STALKER (Interview)
LIFE AS A DREAM (Interview)
LUC ROEG ON WALKABOUT (Interview)
NATALYA BONDARCHUK ON SOLARIS (Interview)
SIMON CALLOW ON CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (Interview)
SWORD OF THE SAMURAI (Interview)
VADIM YUSOV ON SOLARIS (Interview)