A vigil of arms combative. While the group Time Warner is preparing to close at the end of the month its platform SVOD FilmStruck devoted to the classics of the 7th art, film buffs, Hollywood rebel. The filmmakers of Phantom Thread and Dunkirk Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan are the latest to be affixed their name to an open letter to the boss film studios Warner, Toby Emmerich.
The petition urges the head of the film division to convince its peers within the group Time Warner to reconsider their decision. Toby Emmerich is not involved in the closure of the service, but the signatories to rely on its power of influence. “FilmStruck was (IS) the best platform of video on demand for lovers of cinema: classics from the catalogs of the studios, treasures of the independent film and international”, argues the letter. “Without FilmStruck, the outlook of movie-goers and film students are particularly dark. There is a reason for which the artists and the fans reacted with as much effusion and emotions.
And the text to insist: “At a time when communications companies are leading to huge acquisitions in the film industry – a case that could bring billions of dollars to a media such as the cinema, we need a small manifestation of good will toward the preservation and accessibility of a rich heritage that will benefit the public.”
A petition circulating
The signatories of the missive together a who’s who of Hollywood: Paul Thomas Anderson, Ana Lily Amirpour, Sean Baker, James Brolin, Damien Chazelle, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Gray, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Bill Hader, Karyn Kusama, Barry Jenkins, Rian Johnson, Christopher McQuarrie, Reed Morano, Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Barbra Streisand, and Edgar Wright.
Their open letter follows a petition advocating the continuation of the Film Struck which has collected more than 50,000 strokes. For weeks, the director Barry Jerkins (oscar winner for Moonlight) , Guillermo Del Toro ( The Shape of water ) and Rian Johnson (Star Wars: the last Jedi ) to mobilize on Twitter. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese have also contacted the leaders of the group Warner.
Turner and Warner Bros had launched FilmStruck in the United States in November 2016, before expanding to the Uk in February 2018 and then to France and to Spain in the spring (5.99 euros per month). Filmstruck, of which one is unaware of the number of subscribers operated the library of Warner Bros. ( The Fury of Living , Casablanca , the films of Charlie Chaplin) and offered exclusive access to the Criterion Collection. “If FilmStruck has a fiercely loyal fan base, it remains a niche”, explained Turner, and Warner Bros Digital Networks in a message to the american magazine Variety. Warner, which includes HBO, CNN, DC Comics was bought in June by the telecom giant AT&T, who renamed WarnerMedia. In the pursuit of Netflix, the giant announced in mid-October that it planned to launch its own video service online before the end of 2019.