This is the first year that Netflix will have movies premiering at the prestigiousCannes Film Festival and it might be the last.
The source of the tension is Netflixs relationship with theaters. Theoretically, the companyhas said its not opposed to bringing the movies it funds into theaters as long as they premiere on the streaming service at the same time.
However, that resistanceto the traditional windowmeans most Netflix movies get a minimal or nonexistentrelease in theaters. This, in turn, has stopped somefilmmakers from selling their movies to the streaming service. (Amazon has been more amenable to a windowedrelease schedule.)
So when Cannes announced that it would be screening two Netflix films,Okja(directed by Bong Joon-ho) and The Meyerowitz Stories (directed by Noah Baumbach), the Federation of French Cinemas criticized the decision.
Now the festivalhas announced a new rule, which requires a filmcompeting at Cannesto commit itself to being distributed in French movie theaters. A French law mandates that films cant be shown on streaming services for 36 months after their theatrical release, and its hard tosee Netflixagreeing to wait that long (or at all), so this could effectively block its films from future festivals.
The Festival de Cannes asked Netflix in vain to accept that these two films could reach the audience of French movie theaters and not only its subscribers, the festival said in a statement. Hence the Festival regrets that no agreement has been reached.
Cannes did say that the rule only takes effect next year, so Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories should screen as planned.
In response, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on Facebook: The establishment closing ranks against us. See Okja on Netflix June 28th. Amazing film that theatre chains want to block us from entering into Cannes film festival competition.