Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cannes Film Festival Declares War on Netflix, Amazon Over Non Theatrical Releases: Hundreds of Millions of Dollars at Stake


The Cannes Film Festival has taken a stand against festival eligible movies not being shown in movie theaters. This comes as news that two movies in competition this year will never be shown in French movie theatres– Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon Ho’s latest release, “Okja.” Both films are financed by Netflix, which plans only to show them via their TV platform service.

This has caused an uproar among French theater owners and cineastes who are lamenting the death of cinema– something the French take seriously. A statement from the festival indicates that they tried to get Netflix to agree to put these films in theaters, but so far have been unable to persuade them. The result is a decision that starting next year, all films in competition will have to be shown in French theatres.

This will be an interesting confrontation, because Netflix and Amazon are now pouring money into movie making, as they see it. That doesn’t always include movie theaters.

See the statement below.

“A rumor has recently spread about a possible exclusion of the Official Selection of Noah Baumbach and Bong Joon Ho whose films have been largely financed by Netflix. The Festival de Cannes does reiterate that, as announced on April 13th, these two films will be presented in Official Selection and in Competition.

“The Festival de Cannes is aware of the anxiety aroused by the absence of the release in theaters of those films in France. The Festival de Cannes asked Netflix in vain to accept that these two films could reach the audience of French movie theaters and not only its subscribers. Hence the Festival regrets that no agreement has been reached.

“The Festival is pleased to welcome a new operator which has decided to invest in cinema but wants to reiterate its support to the traditional mode of exhibition of cinema in France and in the world. Consequently, and after consulting its Members of the Board, the Festival de Cannes has decided to adapt its rules to this unseen situation until now: any film that wishes to compete in Competition at Cannes will have to commit itself to being distributed in French movie theaters. This new measure will apply from the 2018 edition of the Festival International du Film de Cannes onwards.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News