While Netflix may have become the first and only international streamer to reach a windowing detente with French exhibitors, the streamer will not be taking its slate to the Cannes Film Festival this year — in or out of competition. Sources told Variety that the streamer won’t world-premiere any films in the upcoming fest’s 75th edition. Reached by IndieWire, Netflix declined to comment.
That means that buzzy Netflix titles including Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde” — starring Ana de Armas as Monroe, and based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel — won’t be premiering on the Croisette as once rumored. Dominik previously told outlets during the Berlin Film Festival that he hoped festival director Thierry Fremaux would offer the film a world premiere at the festival.
Sources close to IndieWire say that Dominik recently sent a link of the film to Fremaux, who loved it and Ana de Armas’ performance.
Cannes rules necessitate that every movie in competition at the festival must have a theatrical release in France. As announced earlier this week, Netflix inked a deal that the streamer can show movies 15 months after their theatrical release in France on the streaming platform, putting an end to the previously held 36-month window between theatrical and streaming.
Back in 2021, Frémaux told Deadline that “Blonde” could have been part of 2021 Cannes.
“It’s beautiful, I saw it, and I invited those films Out of Competition,” Frémaux said in June 2021. “Netflix doesn’t want to come to Cannes, but I invited them anyway and alas…It’s important, it’s not us refusing Netflix movies, it’s Netflix who doesn’t want or can’t…They want to come in Competition but films that are part of the Competition must be released [theatrically] in France.”
Fremaux has reportedly tried to woo Netflix co-CEO and CCO Ted Sarandos to screen the streamer’s titles out of competition. This nearly succeeded in 2020 with Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” but the festival ultimately scrapped that year’s physical edition.
Netflix hasn’t been seen in Cannes since 2017, when the streamer premiered Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” in competition — to outcry from French exhibitors invested in having Cannes titles play exclusively in local theaters long before streaming.
Still, Netflix has found success bringing its titles to festivals elsewhere, with Jane Campion winning Best Director in Venice last year for “The Power of the Dog.” The film now has 12 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Venice Grand Jury Prize winner “The Hand of God,” also a Netflix release, earned a Best International Feature Oscar nomination. Meanwhile, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter” also won Best Screenplay at Venice, and is up for Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.
This year’s Cannes Film Festival is set to take place from May 17 through 28.
Eric Kohn contributed reporting.