in the mood for deals

Here’s to a Criterion Discount and Cheaper Movie Nights in 2022

Illustration: Martin Gee

The fastest way to financial ruin is paying full price for every streaming service out there. To keep you solvent, we’re constantly watching for new deals, promotions, and full-on freebies. Check back here or follow us on Twitter for updates.

The Latest Criterion Channel Deal

The best subscription service for fans of beautiful film restorations, kaiju classics, and the work of Akira Kurosawa, Abbas Kiarostami, David Lynch, François Truffaut, and dozens upon dozens of other talented directors is on sale in the last week of 2021. Normally, you’d have to pay $99.99 for an annual subscription to the Criterion Channel, but in the spirit of holiday beneficence, the streamer is dropping its price to $89.99 through January 1, 2022, for new subscribers. All you have to do is type in the promo code WELCOME (all caps!) when you sign up.

Don't have The Criterion Channel?

That may be a mere 10 percent discount off the yearly rate, but it’s $42 cheaper than Criterion’s $10.99 monthly subscription. It’s not too shabby if you really want to watch some of the greatest movies ever made as well as the Criterion-curated special features and documentaries associated with them. And if you’re worried about the price working out in your favor, know this: As of today, Criterion boasts 2,818 films in its library. You could watch seven movies a day for a year and still have 263 left over. I’d say go for it. As Kurosawa once famously said: “To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.”

More Ways to Watch Criterion Movies at a Discount and for Free

HBO Max has a bunch of titles. Yes, if you want to dip your toes into the Criterion library, many of its classic titles are still available to stream via HBO Max. It’s a smaller selection, to be sure, but as of today titles like In the Mood for Love, A Trip to the Moon, Time Bandits, The Player, and many more are available. To access them, type “criterion” into the search bar or navigate to HBO Max’s TCM hub, which is stuffed with non-Criterion classics, too. HBO Max has a few different subscription tiers and deals of its own. (Check other streamers for individual Criterion titles as well; Netflix has Beasts of No Nation, and Hulu’s got Parasite. If you want specific films, it’s a no-brainer to look up their availability before signing up.)

The free trial is double the usual length. Streaming services tend to give you seven free days before charging you. Criterion gives you a fortnight. But keep that in mind if you want to take advantage of any other sign-up deals that expire before the 14-day free trial runs out; you can’t double dip.

Buy something to hold. Look, Criterion may have a well-stocked streaming service, but it’s retained a respected physical media business for decades by focusing on putting out rich and thoughtfully curated disc releases. If you love a title like Seven Samurai or Matewan, I’d strongly advise buying those things on DVD or Blu-ray. They look nice, feel nice, and have a longer lifespan than any streaming business right now.

While You’re Here

Don’t miss out on our other Criterion features, resources, and coverage.

How to Gift the Criterion Channel
… And all the other major streaming platforms. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, all year long.

How to Download Movies From the Criterion Channel
Yes, it does let you do it! Here’s the one-stop shop for everything you need to know about how to download titles from all your favorite streaming services.

And as promised a few hundred words ago, if you follow Streamliner on Twitter, we’ll keep you posted on new money-saving bonanzas.

If you subscribe to a service through our links, Vulture may earn an affiliate commission.

Here’s to Criterion Discounts and Cheap Movie Nights in 2022