You can already access the Criterion Collection on DVD, on Blu-ray, or through Hulu — and now, as of this month, you can also get some of its titles through iTunes. With very little hype, the Criterion Collection has quietly started to appear on the iTunes movie page, as you can see in the image above. The initial offering is comprised of just a few dozen of the hundreds of films from their library, but it’s a decent start. Besides, I’d imagine that enough consumers seem interested, the selection will begin to expand. More details after the jump.
Criterion has put up just 46 of their titles at present, compared to 150 at the start of their deal with Hulu Plus. The films that are available seem to be some of the catalog’s best-loved classics, including Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. Each movie will cost $2.99 to rent or $14.99 to purchase, which seems comparable to other releases currently on the iTunes market.
However, what’s more disappointing than the paltry selection is that even if you buy the titles, you won’t have access to the extensive special features that are a huge part of what make hard-copy Criterion releases so beloved by film geeks. As Very Aware points out, Criterion could probably work out a way to use iTunes Extras to make some of those featurettes, documentaries, etc. available through iTunes, but at this point the company has not revealed any plans to do so.
Until Criterion figures out how to bring those all-important bonuses to iTunes, I think I’d rather save my money for their gorgeously packaged Blu-rays and DVDs. Still, I’m happy to hear that those films will be available to rent or buy for those who may not otherwise be inclined to shell out for Criterion’s admittedly pricey discs. And as digital rentals and sales become an increasingly important part of the home video market, this seems like a step in the right direction.