Cannes Keeps Netflix Movies in Competition but Says Future Films Must Have Theatrical Release


OKJA

PARIS – A week before its opening ceremony, the Cannes Film Festival said Wednesday that it would keep Netflix movies “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” in competition despite opposition from French exhibitors but that, in future, all competition titles “will have to commit…to being distributed in French movie theaters.”

The festival’s board had convened a meeting Tuesday to discuss the possibility of yanking both films from competition, as recommended by France’s exhibitors’ association, which is represented on the board. Although the idea was rejected, the festival issued a statement Wednesday expressing regret over Netflix’s decision not to release the films widely in French cinemas.

“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,” the statement said, adding: “The festival regrets that no agreement has been reached.”

The festival said it had decided to “adapt its rules” for the future. Starting next year, “any film that wishes to compete in competition at Cannes will have to commit itself to being distributed in French movie theaters.”

Meanwhile, sources say Netflix has begun negotiations with The Jokers, a French distribution company, and the CNC, France’s National Film Board, to obtain a temporary visa that would allow it to release Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” day and date on its streaming service, along with a one-week theatrical rollout in several…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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