My beloved Birdman, which I haven’t seen a frame of but have really wanted to see for a long, long time, will not debut in Cannes next month. It’ll most likely have its first screenings in Venice and/or Telluride instead. I have to be honest and say that I’m very disappointed and more than a little sad…but I guess I can adapt.

(l. to.) Edward Norton, production assistant, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Michael Keaton during filming of Birdman in New York last winter or early spring (i.e., jacket and scarf weather).

I’ve been presuming for eight and a half months now that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s midlife-crisis comedy, which is about a former superhero actor (Michael Keaton a la Robert Downey ten years from now) trying to produce a stage play, would turn up at the Cannes Film Festival. Why? Because Inarritu screened a cut of Birdman last July for friends, and soon after one of them shared the following: “I know you and I know your taste, Jeff. And I am telling you this [film] is a mind-blowing exercise in pure cinema…it puts AGI in a different league. I was humbled, moved and full of love in seeing him bloom into an artist of a massive calibre…transforming, evolving.

“I assure you I am objective,” he went on. “With James Cameron, Inarritu or Cuaron, when I see their movies or they see mine we are brutal [in our comments]. [But] I was just in awe. Michael Keaton…yes, yes, Michael Keaton will emerge out of this as one of our finest actors ever.”

Birdman was in rough form last July, mind, but it was obviously good enough to make the grade with my correspondent. And Inarritu, I figured, had a good eight months (a fairly long time in post) to be ready for Cannes. Plus he’s debuted films there before and is part of the Croisette club so why not, right? Start the buzz early and all that. But nope…not happening.

Today Fox Searchlight announced that Birdman will be commercially released on 10.17. That in itself wouldn’t necessarily kill a Cannes debut but Fox Searchlight co-president Stephen Gilula told Deadline‘s Michael Fleming that Birdmanwon’t complete post production until late May or early June” — i.e., forget Cannes and expect Birdman to drop in Telluride/Venice (and perhaps also in Toronto).

Gilula emphasized that “Alejandro is famous for his meticulous work in post-production, and this film is unusual for him in that is has some visual effects, and an unusual sound design…the most important thing is to make sure that the film is right.” Maybe, but think about this for a minute. Gilula doesn’t acknowledge the time span but when you consider that Birdman was screened for pallies between eight and nine months ago, Gilula is saying Inarritu needed more than eight or nine months to visually finesse what is basically not an Avatar-styled CG epic but a character- and dialogue-driven drama about an actor trying to re-start his career.

You know what I think? I think FS just figured it would be an easier award-season ride to launch in Telluride/Venice than debut in Cannes and have to keep the fire going all the way to the Oscars in 2015, or ten months after Cannes.

Gilula also tells Fleming that Birdman “hasn’t been screened for anyone, despite the speculation.” Somebody’s fibbing! When Gilula says “anyone” maybe he means people in the film festival and distribution community. But it’s already screened for the MPAA’s ratings board.

Birdman costars Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.

Keaton and Norton during filming of Birdman.