Fest programmers await screening

Warner Bros. is in early talks to bring “The Matrix: Reloaded” to this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Pic would screen in an out-of-competition slot timed to coincide with its U.S. release on May 15.

Official lineup of the film fest, which runs May 14-25, is in only the preliminary stage of being set. As a policy, the fest won’t offer a scheduling slot to a film until it’s been given a formal screening, and the f/x-intensive tentpole, now in the midst of a long post-production process, has yet to be shown to fest programmers. A Warner Bros. spokesman said they haven’t reached an agreement to screen the pic.

But sources close to the studio say plans are taking shape for a May 15 screening. Fest artistic director Thierry Fremaux will travel to L.A. in two weeks and could see “Matrix” footage at that time.

It’s not unusual for summer tentpoles to screen at Cannes. Last year, “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” screened out of competition.

Fest, which attracts international media coverage, serves as a unique launching pad for films that screen there — particularly for an international co-production like “The Matrix.” The franchise’s second and third installments — co-productions of Silver Pictures and Aussie entertainment company Village Roadshow — were shot back-to-back in Oz.

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