Netflix reportedly won’t be at Cannes this year for the second year in a row.
The streaming giant made a big splash on the Croisette in 2017, when it premiered multiple movies, including Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowirtz Stories. The VOD service’s presence, though, ruffled feathers in France, where outdated laws require all films released in French cinemas to have a three-year theatrical window before they can be available on a streaming platform. With Netflix making its films available immediately, or within a week, of their cinema screenings, French exhibitors called for a change of rules. Cannes obliged, deciding that no film could be eligible for the event unless it would be released in French cinemas – with all the windowing restrictions that entails.
Last year, that change in rules saw Netflix withdraw two films from the festival, including Roma and Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind. Both premiered at Venice Film Festival instead – you can read our reviews of their world premieres here – and Roma went on to win both Venice’s Gold Lion and multiple Oscars.
Since then, the tone has been reconciliatory between Cannes festival chief Thierry Fremaux and Netflix’s top brass, with talks reportedly amicable – including, according to Variety, a dinner in Los Angeles within the last month, between Fremaux and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber. Nonetheless, the trade mag reports that no solution has been found for Netflix to be able to screen in competition at Cannes, and, moreover, Netflix doesn’t have a title ready for the festival anyway.
Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman has been the title most mooted for a potential Croisette debut, but post-production special effects mean that the film is now expected to debut at Venice instead, while other projects such as Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat and Timothee Chalamet-starring The King are also understood not to be at Cannes. Netflix will send an acquisition team to snap up titles on the French Riviera, notes Variety, but for the second year in a row, the streamer will be absent from the fray.
Netflix and Cannes have not officially commented.