The Roku Channel has signed a multiyear deal with Lionsgate Films that will allow it to stream upcoming blockbusters like John Wick 4 and Borderlands for free, it announced. Roku will get those films in a timely fashion too, right after their initial streaming windows on Lionsgate's Starz platform. "We are pleased to expand our relationship with our longstanding partner Lionsgate to provide our audience with exclusive first-time, free access to Lionsgate’s theatrical slate," said Roku VP Rob Holmes in a statement.
Other films that arriving to Roku include The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent starring Nicolas Cage, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, The Expendables 4 and White Bird: A Wonder Story (Helen Mirren and Gillian Anderson).
Roku has made a steady push into free programming, buying all of Quibi's short-form shows last year and later adding content from The Tribeca Film Festival, IGN, CBC News and AccuWeather. The new move is a bigger deal, though, as it will let Roku Channel users stream blockbuster films at no cost before they arrive on cable or other platforms. The company didn't say if the films would stream with ads or not, but much of Roku's free content is ad-supported.
Roku also offers Premium subscriptions to HBO, Cinemax, Starz and other services. The new free movie streaming offerings are another shakeup in a crowded, volatile industry. Earlier this week, Netflix announced it would offer an ad-supported tier after 200,000 subscribers left the platform — the first such decline in over a decade.