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Hulu snags deal to pick up movies jettisoned by Netflix

A new deal with Epix will bring more films to Hulu, an area where the video streaming site has failed to keep up with Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Hulu is trying to beef up its movie lineup courtesy of a new deal with Epix.

Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Hulu has taken what Neflix has given away.

On Sunday, Netflix announced that it would not renew its movie licensing agreement with Epix -- a joint venture between film studios Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate -- when the present contract expires at the end of September. The deal had given Netflix access to such films as "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Star Trek Into Darkness," "World War Z" and "The Hunger Games." Epix films are available through other sources, though, and Netflix stated that it wanted to focus more on content exclusive to its own service.

But Hulu doesn't seem to have any such qualms. The $7.99-per-month streaming site revealed on Sunday that it had signed a multi-year deal with Epix to offer its large lineup of motion pictures. Starting October 1, Hulu will show new releases from Epix, including the aforementioned movies as well as "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation," "Interstellar," "Selma" and "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water."

Hulu has typically focused more on TV shows than motion pictures. The site carries a large variety of past and present TV shows, many of which are available in all their seasons. However, its range of movies is limited. Film aficionados will find silent movies and foreign releases. But current American movies and classic films are in short supply. The deal with Epix will give Hulu access to not only recent films but also notable films series such as James Bond, Rocky, Star Trek, Beverly Hills Cop and Friday the Thirteenth. That could give Hulu more of an edge in competing with Netflix and Amazon Prime, both of which offer a larger lineup of motion pictures.

"Hulu already offers some of the best and biggest titles in television programming, but our subscribers have been asking us for more, and more recent, big movies," Hulu's Senior Vice President of Content Craig Erwich said in a statement. "We listened. Through this new deal with Epix, we are proud to now be able to offer a huge selection of the biggest blockbusters and premium films. This is a landmark deal for Hulu and it marks a huge expansion for our offering of premium programming."

Hulu has already been striving to offer more content for movie fans. In June, the company cooked up a bundle in which it combines its own subscription plan with an online Showtime membership for $17 a month. That deal gives Hulu subscribers access to Showtime series, sports events, documentaries and movies.

The new deal will allow Hulu to offer new hit titles, library films and original programs from Epix each year, meaning thousands of new releases and classic films to subscribers. All new releases and original programs will become available to Hulu subscribers 90 days after they debut on traditional pay TV.