×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Despite Ongoing Peace Talks, Netflix Won’t Have Any Movies at Cannes 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

Although Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival continue quietly to negotiate a potential settlement to their differences, the streaming giant will be absent from the Croisette again this year with no film in or out of competition, Variety has learned.

The ongoing talks between the two sides have been friendly, including a dinner in Los Angeles just over a week ago with Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber and Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, who was in town for a summit hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press, one insider said. The meeting was one of several held since Netflix and Cannes’ bitter spat before last year’s festival, which led the streamer to take “Roma” to Venice instead, where it won the Golden Lion.

But no solution has been found yet that would allow a Netflix title to return to Cannes’ competition lineup. In any case, it does not have a festival-ready film to present, sources said. Representatives for Netflix declined to comment on the matter. Cannes did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

To avoid missing out on another masterwork like “Roma,” Fremaux has been eager to lay his hands on Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” and made that clear at the Lumière Festival in Lyon, France, last October, where he sat with Sarandos, Stuber, and Cannes president Pierre Lescure. Fremaux then traveled to the Marrakech Film Festival, where Scorsese was being honored in December.

At the time, there was a strong possibility that post-production on “The Irishman” would be done by May, but the laborious special effects have meant that the film will not be ready for Cannes and will likely bow at the Venice Film Festival in September, before rolling out in theaters and on the streaming service in the fall.

Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat” with Meryl Streep, an untitled project from Noah Baumbach, Timothee Chalamet-starrer “The King” and the Safdie brothers’ “Uncut Gems” were also thought to be possibilities for the Croisette, but none will enter the fray, sources said. As with last year, Netflix still plans to send an acquisition team to Cannes.

After the streamer made a splash in 2017 by getting both Tilda Swinton adventure “Okja” and Baumbach’s starry “The Meyerowitz Stories” into the competition lineup, Cannes and Fremaux faced a revolt from French theater owners angry over Netflix’s practice of making the films available immediately on their site. The usual process in France calls for a 36-month wait after a film’s theatrical release before it can head to a streaming platform.

Cannes bowed to the exhibitors, creating a rule that no film could compete for the festival’s esteemed jury awards unless it was destined for release in French theaters. In response, Netflix withdrew from the fest and took its films, including “Roma” and Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind,” to Venice. Cannes’ 2018 slate was heavily criticized for its weak American presence, and the absence of Netflix in the official selection was one of the most talked-about issues on the Croisette.

The Cannes-Netflix relationship has continued to obsess industry players and journalists, leading some to make fanciful speculations as to how their standoff might end. One scenario entailed an extended local run in French theaters for Cannes award-winning Netflix films before the titles are made available on the streaming service; another suggested that those films be temporarily removed from Netflix’s platform in France for the duration of their theatrical release. But neither of these scenarios is conceivable for local exhibitors, according to a source at the Federation of French Exhibitors.

This year’s program is shaping up to be stronger on the American front. With Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and James Gray’s “Ad Astra” among the several English-language movies strongly tipped for the competition (which would mean two Brad Pitt moments at the Palais), the festival should not be short of glittery options.

More Film

  • Italy's Notorious Pictures on Buying Spree

    Cannes: Italy's Notorious Pictures on Buying Spree Takes 'Vivarium,' Ups Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italian distribution, production, and exhibition company Notorious Pictures is on a buying spree at the Cannes Film Market where they’ve acquired four high-profile titles, including Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots sci-fi-fier “Vivarium,” which world-premiered in Critics’ Week. On the production side the expanding outfit has teamed up with Belgium’s Tarantula Productions on Islamic terrorism thriller [...]

  • Marco Bellocchio The Traitor Cannes

    Director Marco Bellocchio Talks About Cannes Mafia Drama 'The Traitor'

    Cannes veteran Marco Bellocchio’s vast body of work spans from “Fists in the Pockets” (1965) to “Sweet Dreams,” which launched at Directors’ Fortnight in 2016. The auteur known for psychodramas and for bringing the complexities of Italian history, and hypocrisy, to the big screen is back, this time in competition, with “The Traitor,” a biopic [...]

  • Director Tudor Giurgiu on Transylvania Film

    Director Tudor Giurgiu on Transilvania Film Festival Opening Film ‘Parking’

    CANNES–A poet, a romantic, and a stranger in a strange land, Adrian is a Romanian immigrant working as a night watchman at a car dealership in Cordoba. After leaving his old life behind, he falls in love with a Spanish singer who offers him a shot at reinvention. But when a money-making scheme by his [...]

  • Their Algeria

    Lina Soualem’s ‘Their Algeria’ Wins First Docs-in-Progress Award

    CANNES–Lina Soualem’s “Their Algeria” won the inaugural Docs-in-Progress Award, a €10,000 ($11,300) cash prize given out by the Cannes Film Market’s Doc Corner with the support of the Intl. Film Talent Association (IEFTA), which was presented Tuesday at a ceremony at the Plage des Palmes. Soualem’s directorial debut was chosen out of the 24 works-in-progress [...]

  • Film Review: The Orphanage

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Orphanage'

    Amusing, at times poignant Bollywood re-creations are used in “The Orphanage” much as Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat mixed folklore with realism in her award-winning “Wolf and Sheep,” in both cases to add heightened levels of cultural significance and an element of fantasy as necessary correlatives to hardscrabble lives. While Sadat’s second feature is something of [...]

  • Three Identical Strangers

    Film News Roundup: 'Three Identical Strangers' Feature Adaptation Taps 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Writer

    In today’s film news roundup, “Three Identical Strangers” is moving ahead, Skeet Ulrich has been cast with Tom Hanks, the “Minions” sequel has been titled and “Vegas Dave” is getting a movie. MCCARTEN ATTACHED “Bohemian Rhapsody” screenwriter Anthony McCarten will write and produce the feature adaptation of the documentary “Three Identical Strangers.” Raw, Film4 and [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho, Choi Woo-shik. Director Bong

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Earns Five-Minute Cannes Ovation

    Just days after the announcement of the selection of “Parasite” for main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho warned members of the local press not to expect his film to win the Palme d’Or. He also suggested that the film was “hyper local” and possibly difficult for foreign audiences to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content