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The Criterion Collection Now On Hulu Plus, Will Be Pulled From Netflix Instant By End Of '11

by Cory Everett
February 15, 2011 5:07 AM
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Over 150 Titles Including 'The 400 Blows,' 'Breathless,' 'Seven Samurai,' 'La Strada' And More

Update: Some very bad news for Netflix subscribers, apparently this Hulu Plus deal comes at a price. All Criterion titles will be removed from streaming through Netflix Instant by the end of 2011. Criterion says that Hulu seems a better fit for them because of the visibility they are being offered by the service (their own highlighted section, "Criterion" being searchable, etc.) but this writer thinks Netflix really dropped the ball in letting them go. If you can't imagine yourself paying $8 a month and still having to sit through commercials, you're about to have no choice in order to view these classics.

Film nerds rejoice. The Criterion Collection, long known among cinephiles as the gold standard in DVD/Blu-ray production, has just launched a partnership with Hulu Plus to make their titles available for members. Starting today, over 150 titles are available on the streaming service with more than 800 films expected over the coming months. At this very moment you can watch world cinema classics by Fellini, Truffaut, Kurosawa and more including, “The 400 Blows,“ “Breathless,“ “Jules and Jim,“ “M,“ “Playtime,“ “Rashomon,“ “Seven Samurai,“ “La Strada,“ and “The Wages of Fear“ among many others.

Also curious to note is the selection of many titles not currently in DVD or Blu-ray production by Criterion including the films of Charlie Chaplin (“The Kid,” “City Lights,” “The Circus”; though they have licensed them and are likely to appear on hard formats as well), “I Was A Teenage Zombie,” “Four Feathers” and many more. While many of Criterion’s titles are already available for streaming via Netflix Instant, this is just another great way to get these classics in front of people. The one clear advantage with Netflix is that there are no commercials, so how did Criterion get around this? Thanks to their advertising partners any commercials will play before the film and never interrupt the actual presentation. You can read Hulu SVP Eugene Wei and Criteron honcho Peter Becker's thoughts on the deal here and here. For those of you on the fence about Hulu Plus, this may be enough to send you over the edge. You can browse all their titles here and check out a short promo clip below.

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More: DVD Labels, The Criterion Collection

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  • Iris M. Gross | April 16, 2012 3:02 PMReply

    Too funny. Some are saying "for $8 a month there'd better not be any commercials." I'm old enough to remember when cable first came on the scene, and to sell people on the idea of paying for television shows they said the monthly charge was to eliminate the need for commercials like on "free" TV. Times have changed, huh? LOL

  • Louise | April 17, 2011 1:00 AMReply

    What music is playing during this ad?

  • Liz | February 24, 2011 5:03 AMReply


    Camille Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals: the Aquarium". It's beautiful!

  • steph | February 21, 2011 9:35 AMReply

    what's the name of the song playing during the commerical?

  • TFT | February 16, 2011 5:09 AMReply

    Whatevs. You bitches should own these films already anyway.

  • Stephen M | February 16, 2011 4:11 AMReply

    Yeah, I'm not really happy about this either. I would never go so far as to say Criterion has lost its brand identity, but I think this is a bad decision. Netflix is so much better than Hulu. Everyone knows it. Criterion had been experimenting for a little while with putting up a couple titles on Hulu here or there, but it didn't seem like it was much of a success to me. The Hulu commenting community are the biggest bunch of a-holes anywhere, none of whom recognize good movies if they hit them in the face. The most popular movies are always the ones that look like they might have sex in them.

    I'm assuming Criterion is also trying to look ahead to the fast-approaching times when hard copies of films will be for collectors only--everyone else will just download. Perhaps this is their opening salvo. If so, not especially impressed.

  • LA2000 | February 16, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    Nothing adds to your appreciation of classic cinema like a commercial for Geico.

    This is clearly about money and not about an improved presentation. Which is ridiculous, because the Criterion brand is exclusively about presenting the classics in the best manner possible. So, as of this moment, Criterion no longer has a valid brand identity. Congratulations.

    I have been watching HuluPlus on my Roku since it launched and frankly, it is not ready for primetime. It is slooow and cumbersome to search through. Shows only appear the day after air, which is ridiculous considering that I am PAYING to watch them WITH COMMERCIALS. And of course, there are the commercials.

    Netflix streaming I love. I use it at least once a day.

    Those Criterion people are idiots.

  • Dan | February 16, 2011 1:53 AMReply

    "Whatevs. You bitches should own these films already anyway."

    Right on, TFT. For those of you that can't afford Criterion or even Netflix/Hulu, use your local public library.

    "Those Criterion people are idiots."

    LA2000, what classic films have you released lately?

  • Cory Everett | February 15, 2011 10:45 AMReply

    Yep, I think it was just worded a little funny. Said "advantage to Netflix", meant "advantage with Netflix".

    To recap: Netflix = no commercials. HuluPlus = commercials up front.

  • Jesse | February 15, 2011 10:19 AMReply

    Over at Hulu blog it mentions that there will be commercials, but they will only run up front.

  • Marco W. | February 15, 2011 8:47 AMReply

    How can I get a HuluPLUS widget on my Samsung Blu-Ray player? Anyone know?

  • William | February 15, 2011 7:58 AMReply

    Mike's right, there are no commercials on Netflix Streaming. And if I'm paying $7.99 a month, there better not be any commercials on Hulu Plus.

  • Mike_M | February 15, 2011 6:43 AMReply

    "The one clear advantage to Netflix is that there are no commercials..."

    There are no commercials on Netflix watched instant, are there? I have never seen any, unless you mean over regular Hulu access.

  • Chris | February 15, 2011 5:56 AMReply

    I read somewhere that they'll release a lot more soon, including Criterion's that are out-of-print. Yeah, they might be getting my money. And by 'might' I mean 'definitely'.

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