×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ted Sarandos Says Netflix Returning to Cannes Is ‘Less Attractive’ Under New Rule

Returning to Cannes is “less attractive” for Netflix if its films must play out of competition under a new rule requiring all competition titles to have a theatrical release, Ted Sarandos said early Monday.

Netflix made a splash on the Croisette this year with two movies in the official competition, Bong Joon-Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.” But outrage from French exhibitors and others over the selection prompted the festival to issue its new restriction on competition eligibility, effective next year.

Speaking to Variety at Netflix’s late-night bash in Cannes, Sarandos at first said “no” when asked whether the streaming giant would be willing to come back with its films relegated to the out-of-competition berth. But he added quickly: “Well, I shouldn’t say that. It would be less attractive, for sure, because it would affect [Netflix’s] festival strategy around the world.”

Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, said that films should be judged on their artistic merit, not their commercial potential. “If you say that it has to have a commercial possibility in order for it to be in a festival, that’s a real paradox,” he said, noting that Netflix has been invited to Venice, Toronto, Telluride and other major festivals around the world. “I don’t want our films and our filmmakers to be excluded if they make a choice to go with this distribution rather than another.”

Sarandos expressed his frustration with France’s strict window release schedule, which forbids day-and-date releases and bans on-demand streaming services from showing films until three years after their theatrical release.

“It’s the only place in the world that has this restriction,” Sarandos said. A temporary visa request for a limited release of “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” in France was rejected, “so we’re going to try some other things that don’t trigger the chronology. But we don’t want to break the rules.”

Ultimately, Sarandos said, he did not want to “hold the movies for a tiny audience.”

Sarandos seemed pleased with the critical response to both “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories,” and happy that the media had shifted their focus away from the controversy stirred up by his company’s presence on the Croisette.

“Cannes loves a scandal, and this one is called ‘L’Affaire de Netflix,'” he joked.

More Film

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content