3 Ways the Cannes Film Festival Will Shake Up the Industry Next Week

From Harrison Ford's celebration to an unpredictable market, here are some key ways that Cannes will get people talking in the days ahead.
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18:  Harrison Ford attends "The Expendables 3" premiere during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2014 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Harrison Ford attends "The Expendables 3" premiere during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2014 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

The Cannes Film Festival may be the best-known gathering for showcasing cinema from around the world, but it can also whip up a lot of news for the film industry. Last year’s energetic launch for “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis” kickstarted their successful commercial and awards season cycles. Now, as pandemic-era challenges recede to the background, Cannes is back with more potential to shake up the news cycle.

In this week’s Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson discuss some of the ways that the 2023 edition is certain to generate conversation. Read on for three big takeaways from the episode.

Watch or listen to the full podcast above. Screen Talk listeners attending Cannes this year, take note! A live edition of the podcast will take place at the American Pavilion on Tuesday, May 23, at 2 p.m. You will need AMPAV accreditation to attend, but listeners who want to attend and need help with access can reach out to Kohn via Twitter.

Here Comes Harrison

Critics and journalists often get a chance to pre-screen some of the bigger movies at the festival (as was the case with “Top Gun: Maverick” last year). But Disney is taking the opposite route with “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the fifth and apparently final entry in the franchise, which will make its big debut for the media alongside the rest of the Cannes crowd early in the festival. With the generally reliable director James Mangold taking the reins from Steven Spielberg, the movie is being positioned as a lively finale with major blockbuster appeal beyond the nostalgia factor. It’s also a final chance to salute 80-year-old Harrison Ford as his most famous character — and the actor will be on hand to receive an honorary Palme d’Or, which means there will be a lot of good vibes for his legacy coinciding with the premiere.

An Unpredictable Market

Buyers will be looking for available movies around the festival, but — as Thompson reports — the big streamers aren’t necessarily eager to load up on available projects. Meanwhile, there are only two buzzy acquisition titles in the Official Competition this year: “May December” and “Firebrand.” They have name talent and real potential to play well for Cannes audiences, but it remains unclear how buyers will respond to them in that context. Look for more action at the Cannes market, which is expected to return to pre-COVID levels of activity despite the possible impact of the WGA strike on upcoming productions.

Some Cultural Shifts?

Cannes has programmed more women in competition than ever before; it also chose not to screen the new Woody Allen film. Has the festival moved in a more progressive direction this year? That will become clearer once films screen and the environment takes shape. But there are some early indications that the festival has made some new efforts to evolve and meet the demands of the current cultural landscape. Then again, many of the films directed by women have been programmed at the end of the festival this year…so, we’ll see.

Also in week’s podcast: Discussion of new releases “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” “Sanctuary,” and “BlackBerry.”

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous installments here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 

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