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6 Biggest Cannes Winners and Losers — From Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun’ Triumph to George Miller’s Disappointing Genie

Top Gun Maverick
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures / Scott Garfield

The 75th annual Cannes Film Festival reminded the world just why people love going to the movies. And movie theaters received an important endorsement from a powerful A-list ally. “I make movies for the big screen,” Tom Cruise said on May 18, just hours before “Top Gun: Maverick” premiered to a rapturous standing ovation on its way to a $151-million box office opening.

Here are the biggest winners and losers from the French Riviera.

Winner: Neon. The indie distributor has a special touch with Palme d’Or winners. Following 2019’s “Parasite” and 2021’s “Titane,” Neon landed North American rights to this year’s big Cannes champ: Ruben Östlund’s comedy “Triangle of Sadness,” which stars Woody Harrelson as a rabid Marxist who is the captain of a cruise for the super-rich.

Loser: An expensive genie. The conventional wisdom on George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, is that it’s too divisive and artsy to make back its $60 million budget.

Winner: Star Power. Cannes returned with a roar, bringing back A-list glamour to the first full festival since 2019. In addition to Cruise, the fest also welcomed Julia Roberts — who attended the Trophée Chopard dinner on May 19 — Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Anne Hathaway and Sharon Stone. Stone won every red carpet she walked, even though she didn’t have a film playing at the festival.

Winner: “Elvis.” Baz Luhrmann’s big-spectacle biopic starring Austin Butler scored the largest and most enthusiastic standing ovation at Cannes — clocking in at 12 minutes — a good sign for film’s popular appeal. Warner Bros. Discovery pulled out all the stops with a raging after-party on the beach attended by its newly minted CEO David Zaslav. The mogul even walked the carpet with hair slicked back, perhaps as an homage to Elvis’ coiffure.

Loser: Air-conditioning and masks. Was it hot in Cannes — or was it just you? With temperatures spiking in the south of France, the festival felt like purgatory this year, as most U.S. attendees complained that the Palais was too stuffy and hot during the big premieres. As for Cannes fashion, one accessory that was almost invisible? Masks. Almost all attendees carried on as if COVID was but a distant memory.

Winner: Christina Aguilera. Can there be a Palme d’Or for best musical performance? Taking the stage at 1 a.m. on May 27, the singer belted out a set of five of her songs — including the “Moulin Rouge!” anthem “Lady Marmalade” — that had oligarchs and millionaires cheering as the highlight of this year’s amfAR Cannes gala at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc.