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Universal to beam Cannes abroad

Digital deals delivers fest's opening night to pan-European theaters

The Cannes red carpet is being rolled out throughout Europe today as more than 100 digital movie screens, in 10 countries, will air simultaneous footage of tonight’s Palais arrivals and opening ceremonies.

Universal’s “Robin Hood” opens throughout Europe today, and Canal Plus footage from Cannes will air starting at 6:45 p.m. in advance of the evening screenings. (Canal Plus has an exclusive arrangement with the fest to air red-carpet footage.)

Universal France and the CielEcran exhibition chain initiated talks on the satellite hookup, which will beam to 77 Gallic houses, with other countries signing on in the past few days. In all, 116 sites will participate, including those in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Switzerland.

There are two feeds available: a French-language one will be used for France and French-language Switzerland and Belgium. The other territories will be using a version with an English-language presenter for the red carpet and simultaneous English-lingo translations for the opening ceremony.

“Robin Hood” is also the kickoff Cannes review from newly minted senior film critic Justin Chang.

Associate features editor Peter Debruge has also been promoted to senior film critic.

Chang will head the team of critics at the Cannes Film Festival. Debruge and Chang have been among the paper’s reviewers in the past few years. In addition to wearing their critics hats, they will continue with other duties, which include managing, assigning and editing the more than 1,200 film reviews, both domestic and international, that Variety runs annually.

Chang, who began at Variety in 2004, has been editing the weekly film review section since late 2006 and is a copy editor on the news desk. Debruge, who started in 2005, has been working in the features department, overseeing such sections as 10 Comics to Watch and the Youth Impact Report.

Brian Lowry will continue to review films, in addition to his ongoing role as principal TV critic and columnist.

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