Friday, April 12, 2024

Cannes 2017 Rough Start as Will Smith Shills for Netflix in Movie Theatre vs. Home Screening Fight


Cannes 2017 got off to a rough start today when the jury met the press. For some reason, Will Smith — not exactly a cineaste– is on the jury headed by Pedro Almodovar. At the press conference, immediately the subject of Netflix vs. Cannes came up– Netflix is showing two movies that won’t be in French cinema, only on their service. Because of this, next year all movies will have to be available in French theatres or they can’t compete at the festival.

Almodovar, of course, is for movies having theatrical releases. He’s an artist, after all. So when he was asked, that’s what he said.

But Smith has a $90 million movie called “Bright” coming to Netflix only, in December. So when he was asked, the star of recent flops like “Concussion” and “Seven Pounds” advocated for the streaming service. When he was asked, Smith said: “It’s two completely different forms of entertainment they go for. In my house Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit because they get to watch films that they never would have seen. Netflix bring a great connectivity to them to the world. There are movies that are not on a screen within 8,000 miles. And now they get to find those artists and they get to look them up online and they make contact. And there is this whole underground world of artists that gets born from that kind of connectivity. In my home it has done nothing but broaden my children’s cinematic global comprehension.”

Nothing like making friends on Day 1. Smith also indicated that he was worried about how long Cannes runs (10 days) and the number of films he has to see a day (3, at least) beginning at 8:30am.

This should be interesting!

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.

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