‘Robin Hood’ to open Cannes

Crowe, Blanchett starrer to be presented out of competition

PARIS — Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, will open the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on May 12.

“Robin Hood” plays out of competition.

Co-starring Max Von Sydow, William Hurt and Lea Seydoux, “Robin Hood” will pack a red carpet punch at Cannes, ensuring out-of-the-gate glamour.

Produced by Scott Free Prods. and Imagine Ent. for Universal Studios, “Hood” looks like just one of a clutch of Croisette-bound studio movies.

“We should have a good presence of studio films at Cannes this year. That’s a positive sign,” Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux told Daily Variety.

“Robin Hood,” a reportedly heavy-on-action retread of the legend, was always a frontrunner for the opening night slot.

“Hood’s” already announced May 14 Stateside release date aligned perfectly with a Rivera first night bow.

Cannes’ “Hood” world preem allows the festival to kick off “Hood’s” global roll-out, putting the festival “at the center of the world,” Fremaux said.

Pic also bows commercially May 12 in French theaters — opening the door to the Cannes opening night becoming a national event.

“From Wednesday at Cannes through Friday in the States, the film goes worldwide. I like that. Everybody can have their own opening night,” said Fremaux.

Scott has an occasional but successful Cannes c.v. His “The Duellists” played in Competition in 1977, winning a Unanimite award; “Thelma and Louise” closed Cannes 1991 to upbeat reception, playing out of competition.

“With ‘E.T.,’ ‘Thelma and Louise’ has been one of the greatest closing nights in the history of Cannes,” said Fremaux.

Also explaining “Hood’s” selection, Cannes — and France — loves Hollywood auteurs.

“Scott is a great director working within the Hollywood system,” Fremaux said.

Reportedly hewing close to background historical fact, “Hood” is said to be a “Gladiator”-style makeover, charting the birth of the Robin Hood legend.

“Hood” is written by Brian Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential,” “Mystic River”). Imagine’s Brian Grazer is producing alongside Scott.

Pic’s opening night selection underscores an ever-stronger entente cordiale between Cannes and Hollywood.

“Hood” marks Cannes’ third Hollywood studio opener in five years — not counting 2008’s “Blindness,” sold worldwide by Focus Features Intl.

“When the studios have a film, they don’t hesitate about presenting it to us,” Fremaux said.

The $760 million worldwide trawl for Sony’s “The Da Vinci Code” showed also that a movie, if big enough, could survive a Cannes critical drubbing; warmly received last year, Disney-Pixar’s Cannes opener “Up” also went on to stellar B.O figures.

The 63rd Cannes Festival runs May 12-23.

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