IFC Films is moving its first pay television window to AMC+, in a bid by AMC Networks to carve out a weekly exclusive movie premiere every week of the year for its in-house streaming service. Under the new deal, announced on Tuesday, AMC+ will be the exclusive streaming home of movies from AMC Networks Film Group — which includes IFC Films, IFC Midnight and RLJE Films — in the “Pay 1” window, following theatrical and digital distribution.
The films, premiering each Friday on AMC+, will stream 90 days after their initial theatrical release, but select titles will premiere day-and-date in both theaters and simultaneously on AMC+. IFC Films had previously held distribution pacts with Showtime and Hulu.
The new pact starts on May 6, with the streaming premiere of IFC Films’ “Clean,” starring Adrien Brody and RZA. “Clean” was released in theaters on January 28.
As part of the 52-week premiere strategy, the last Friday of each month — dubbed “The Final Friday” by AMC+ — will feature a horror film release from AMC Networks’ Shudder label. Shudder continues to acquire genre titles with the help of IFC Films and RLJE Films.
In taking AMC Networks Film Group’s output in house, the company hopes to further grow AMC+ as its flagship streaming destination; besides airing episodes of signature series like “The Walking Dead” early, as well as exclusive runs of series such as crime drama “Kin” and mystery “Ragdoll.”
The streaming service has also already dabbled in exclusive streaming movie premieres, running one a week through November and into December in 2021, including a couple of releases that were day-and-date with theatrical. That included the dark holiday feature “Silent Night” from RLJE Films, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode. According to AMC, the slate “outperformed popular library title movies in both viewership and acquisition, with user engagement ranking among even the top original series on AMC+.”
IFC Films recently acquired seven films at the Sundance Film Festival, more than any other distributor, and picked up another seven at the SXSW Film Festival. Under this new deal, all 14 movies will eventually wind up on AMC+.
“Our members enjoy discovering and recommending the latest in television and film – as evidenced by tremendous engagement we saw around our Friday night film releases last year,” said Courtney Thomasma, general manager of AMC+, in a statement. “Expanding our film offering was the next logical step in continuing to serve and grow our audience.”
Besides “Clean” on May 6, upcoming premieres include revenge thriller “Catch the Fair One” on May 13, from director Josef Kubota Wladyka and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky; “Dual,” from writer/director Riley Stearns and starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul, on May 20 — and premiering just 35 days after its theatrical release by RLJE Films; and thriller “A Banquet,” from Shudder and IFC Midnight, directed by Ruth Paxton, on May 27.
Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films, noted the company’s pioneering use of day-and-date VOD with theatrical: “For over two decades, IFC Films has lead the industry in developing diversified distribution strategies for independent cinema, bringing audiences the best in global and American independent film. We are proud to continue this history of innovation and give audiences more ways to discover our incredible library on AMC+.”
AMC Networks’ lineup of targeted streaming services includes AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK and HIDIVE, newly acquired with the purchase of anime content distributor Sentai. AMC Networks reached more than 9 million paid streaming subscribers by the end of 2021, and has forecast between 20 million to 25 million paid subscribers across its streaming services by 2025.