Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was easily the biggest world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, but it turned out to be so massively popular the festival could not accommodate everyone who bought a ticket to attend the event. As reported by Deadline, hundreds of balcony ticket buyers and badge holders were not allowed in the Grand Lumiere theater for the May 21 premiere screening. Tickets cost as much as $1,000 or more. A member of the Cannes press office apologized on behalf of the festival in a statement to IndieWire.
“We have heard that some of the audience, including journalists, were turned away at the gala premiere of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,'” the festival said. “The Festival is currently investigating into what happened. Sometimes, for very busy screenings, invitations to gala screenings are subject to seats availability – as it is mentioned on the tickets, and depending on how far in advance the audience is at the gates.”
The statement continued, “We apologize for that, and for those who were denied access. About the allegation that ticket buyers were denied access: Invitations to the Festival de Cannes’ screenings are never sold and no invitation is allowed to be purchased. Invitations cannot under any circumstances be transferred, sold or given away by any parties.”
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Many of the balcony ticket holders were held at the edge of the red carpet while orchestra and mezzanine ticket holders were rushed into the theater to be seated. After the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” cast and director Quentin Tarantino made their way into the screening, access to the Grand Lumiere was shut off and the hundreds of people still waiting to get in were told the screening was at capacity. Many badge holders were film journalists and press members as well. One movie buyer who was denied access to the screening told Deadline, “I was so disappointed. I’ve been coming to the festival for a decade. There were at least one hundred people behind me who didn’t get in. I assume they all had tickets. I know many of them were industry. I changed my ticket to make sure I was here for this screening. I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s really bad form.”
“Hollywood” went on to premiere to a six-minute standing ovation from the audience inside the Grand Lumiere. Sony Pictures is releasing the film nationwide July 26.