It’s been announced that as of next year, Netflix releases will not be screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Unless, that is, the straight-to-streaming service changes its attitude about theatrical playdates. Amazon, Netflix’s biggest online competitor, has declared an intention to open films theatrically before going to streaming; Netflix has been fairly adamant about not doing that. French exhibitors have recently been venting much anger about this.
Official Cannes statement, released this morning: “A rumor has recently spread about a possible exclusion of the Official Selection of Noah Baumbach‘s The Meyerowitz Stories and Bong Joon Ho‘s Okja, which 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.”