Netflix withdraws from Cannes Film Festival after being banned from competition

Netflix Not Available In Theaters

Netflix Not Available In Theaters

Netflix might not bring any titles to the Cannes Film Festival - so there.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety that Netflix won't be attending Cannes at all in the wake of the festival's rule change regarding films submitted to competition.

"Please reconsider and let my father's work be the movie that bridges the gap between Netflix and Cannes", Beatrice said.

But Cannes' decision to include the Netflix features stirred up controversy, particularly in France, where the law, created to protect motion picture theaters, says films may not appear on streaming services for 36 months after they play theatrically.

That still left Netflix the option of playing out of competition at Cannes.

"We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker", Sarandos told the publication of the move, which was announced past year by Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux. "We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker", he said. But we will continue to support all films and all filmmakers. They've set the tone.

A new rule at the Cannes Film Festival has effectively prevented Netflix from participating in the festival, and I, for one, think it's disgusting.


But even as Cannes continues to build its reputation as a retrograde stickler for tradition, I do want to remind everyone that this is a film festival that screened The Emoji Movie previous year. "But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours".

The net effect of the two regulations in tandem is that any film Netflix wants to place in competition at the Cannes Film Festival would have to be held back from subscribers to the French Netflix service for three years. The streaming service has long held to its formula of only giving its films day-and-date theatrical releases-meaning a film is released in theaters on the same day it hits Netflix. At least we'll have Solo: A Star Wars Story to look forward to.

That complication, coupled with a public outcry from French theater owners, among others, led to Cannes' decision to exclude Netflix flims from competition this year. "No other festival premiere will rival what Cannes intended for the films". While Netflix has booked films like Mudbound and The Meyerowitz Stories into limited theatrical runs in the USA, day-and-date with their streaming reviews, its films have sidestepped theaters in France.

"It is not a coincidence that Thierry also banned selfies this year", Sarandos says, referring to Cannes' new prohibition of selfie-taking on the red carpet.

A spokeswoman for Netflix said the company had no further comment.

So this whole beef started with a statement by Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux. Some speculate that the festival is looking to minimize the effect of negative critical reaction to a particular film ahead of a given picture's debut, though Frémaux told Variety the move comes after "planning hadn't evolved for 40 years", so "it was time to reform.... not against critics but IN FAVOR of gala evenings".

Accordingly, Netflix is threatening to pull out all its movies from the popular and well-respected festival.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.