Some of the biggest directors working in Hollywood, from Christopher Nolan to Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, are asking Warner Bros. to save the classic-film streaming service FilmStruck.
Just under 20 directors and actors have signed an open letter to Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich urging the executive to re-evaluate a decision made by WarnerMedia — Warner Bros.’ parent company, which is in the process of merging with AT&T — to end support for the streaming service. It’s one of many streaming services, among them comedy hub Super Deluxe and Korean drama service DramaFever, that WarnerMedia has decided to stop supporting as the acquisition occurs and WarnerMedia gears up to launch its own standalone streaming package. The open letter includes acknowledgement from Hollywood’s top talent that there are business aspects to take into consideration during a merger, but it argues FilmStruck shouldn’t be lost in the process.
“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,” the letter, published on Deadline, reads. “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.”
Their open letter comes after directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg reportedly reached out to Emmerich with similar concerns. While many of the directors on the list have worked with mega streaming services like Netflix and Hulu in the past, others, like Nolan, have spoken out against how streaming giants like Netflix are ruining cinema. FilmStruck, they argue, is a way to preserve cinema’s integrity for a streaming audience.
“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 accessibility of a tradition and a rich history that would benefit the public,” the letter reads.
FilmStruck, which focused on independent, arthouse, foreign language, and classic movies, had a library of over 1,600 titles at the time of its cancellation. The company didn’t disclose how many subscribers the service had, but it’s nowhere near Netflix’s nearly 140 million subscribers worldwide.
Neither WarnerBros. nor WarnerMedia has responded to the letter, but The Verge has reached out for comment. FilmStruck is slated to shut down on November 29th.