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Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Following Rule Change (variety.com) 183

Netflix and Cannes are breaking up, at least for now. On Wednesday, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos said that the streaming platform won't be sending any films to the prestigious French festival, formally severing the strained relationship between the two power players. The decision was a long time coming, after Cannes established a rule that forbade films without a theatrical distribution plan from its competition. From, a report: In an exclusive interview with Variety, Netflix's chief content officer says that the festival sent a clear message with a new rule that bans any films without theatrical distribution in France from playing in competition. Netflix could screen some of its upcoming movies out of competition, but Sarandos says that doesn't make sense for the streaming service. "We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker," Sarandos says. "There's a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They've set the tone. I don't think it would be good for us to be there."

Netflix made a big splash at the prestigious film festival last year with two movies that showed in competition: Bong Joon-ho's "Okja" and Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories." But after the 2017 announcement, French theaters owners and unions protested the inclusion of these films to Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of Cannes. Netflix was amenable to having their movies play on big screens in France, but a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.

Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Following Rule Change

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  • a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.

    What a cheapshot law. Protectionism for some industry has never really worked, why is this a law? Time for that to change. Silly.

    Adapt or die.

    • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @10:03PM (#56421663)

      France is the land of protectionism, and has been for the last ~250 years. They have their own ideas about what their culture should forcibly be that is highly resistant to change at best, highly xenophobic in the middle, and forcibly destroying other cultures within its own country (i.e. Basque) at worst. This is probably also part of the culture war that France has been waging against the US in vain for the past decade.

      French culture is the Eric Cartman of all of the world's cultures.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        250 years? Since 1768? I mean, there was the whole French Revolution, guillotines, Napoleon, the utter humiliation of the Germanic Peoples (a couple times until the Germans figured out they were Germans and got their shit together), the utter destruction of the French Army against the Russian Winter (a couple times), etc. I mean, that's not exactly helping your point there, sir.

      • France is the land of cultural protectionism

        FTFY

        • Well, that's changing pretty fast now. Are they a Muslim-run country yet? If not, wait a few years.
        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          Not just cultural. They also protect the use of terms that elsewhere are taken to mean a variety of production to instead mean "made in a particular geographic area", and they protect the use of native names, and...

          Well, I guess you *could* stretch "culture" to cover everything from techniques of wine production to "what to name the baby", but I would consider that a misuse of the language in English.

      • and forcibly destroying other cultures within its own country (i.e. Basque) at worst.
        That is no longer true since about 30 years ...

      • How do you reconcile that with the importation of massive amounts of "diversity"?

      • by Jahoda ( 2715225 )
        This is probably also part of the culture war that France has been waging against the US in vain for the past decade.

        You might have been reading an alternate history text, but you might recall somewhere around the invasion of Iraq based upon manufactured evidence that the Congress decided we needed to rename "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries", along with a whole host of other petty insults from the American right towards one of America's longest-standing allies and best friends. But the reality is th
      • by Baki ( 72515 )

        Kind of. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] for a clarification and some background on how this came to be.
        Colbert was a french minister under Louis XIV in the 17th century.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @10:01PM (#56421659)

    If things like this preclude Netflix from attending places like Cannes, it only makes sense for Netflix (and every other non-traditional studio) to get together and build their own awards festival. It's not like Netflix is going away anytime soon, so this is a loss for Cannes.

    Of course there'll be the obligatory Blackjack and Hookers.

    • With Blackjack! And Hookers!

      More seriously... I'm not a huge fan of Netflix anymore, but who really cares about Cannes? It has always seemed to be more about what movie stars and rich people were going to show up, and less about the movies themselves. It's the model from 1930's Hollywood.

      • The market (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mapuche ( 41699 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @10:38PM (#56421795) Homepage

        Cannes has a big market. Hundreds of movies are sold globally in Cannes, at the same time many producers find funding for their big budget and indie films. Netflix buys movies for a few dollars and produce a mere handful of movies every year. Cannes is still a very important platform for the movie business.

        Netflix has no space in this old world. They simply put online any movie and people may decide to watch it or not. Meanwhile everyone else has to find distribution and pay for advertising.

        • Hundreds of movies are sold globally in Cannes, at the same time many producers find funding for their big budget and indie films. Netflix buys movies for a few dollars and produce a mere handful of movies every year.

          Cannes showed about 70 films at the last festival, Netflix is scheduled to make 80 films this year, on top of just as many TV shows. Netflix's production budget is $5B/year.

          • by kenh ( 9056 )

            Cannes showed about 70 films at the last festival, Netflix is scheduled to make 80 films this year, on top of just as many TV shows. Netflix's production budget is $5B/year.

            So? The 70 shown at Cannes are a curated list drawn from submissions from around the world, Netflix's lists are more commercially-oriented, for the most part.

            Displaying 70 movies is a very, very small part of the purpose of Cannes in today's movie industry - it is the deals for movies yet to be made that is the real purpose, it provides industry leaders the opportunity to compete for scripts and actors face-to-face.

            • The 20th century called...it wants its business model and collaboration platform back.

            • it is the deals for movies yet to be made that is the real purpose, it provides industry leaders the opportunity to compete for scripts and actors face-to-face.

              Yeah we know how trade shows work, they we're very popular before the Internet...

          • Exactly. Cannes and the people who still think it is important are going to get a bitch-slap of truth--or die a slow agonizing death.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Nothing lasts for ever, Cannes like all the rest of the live acting gigs, is doomed. Reality based animation will wipe them out, the creations of writers and animators together with virtual robotics will simply flood content channels. Why pay Hollywood puppets with delusions of grandeur, the reality is all the other people actually make movies and those movies work best when the puppets do as directed when directed and park their egos off stage. Sure calling them stars worked for marketing, selling the publ

          • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

            "Reality based animation will wipe them out,"

            Yeah right, thats why nobody shoots live outdoors anymore because it can all be greenscreened with CGI. Oh, wait...

            • by kenh ( 9056 )

              I just watched the Hitchcock classic "North by Northwest" and I think almost every outdoor scene was filmed either in front of a projected movie (50's green screen technology) or on a soundstage (where the ground is absolutely flat and the trees are all 50' or taller and spaced about 5 feet apart - just like in nature!).

    • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @10:46PM (#56421833)
      Its not just Cannes, the Oscars also has rules requiring a theatrical release. There are three ways I see this changing - (1) Netflix, Amazon et al. shower money on a struggling name-brand festival or (2) a streaming platform manages to release something that causes a public outcry for not being considered, or (3) the theatre industry completely crashes and burns in the USA. Perhaps #1 is most likely?
      • ts not just Cannes, the Oscars also has rules requiring a theatrical release.

        Unlike the Cannes festival, which requires a release in France, the Academy Awards require a release in Los Angeles in the USA. Unlike France, the USA lacks national regulation of motion picture release windows. This means after a movie completes its 7-day run in LA, it can go straight to Netflix with no mandatory 36-month waiting period.

      • I choose (2). When this happens the digital film festivals will be the leaders, and Cannes a nostalgia fest for virtue signalers like the Oscars.

      • (2) a streaming platform manages to release something that causes a public outcry for not being considered,

        How about (2a) Most people don't really care for award shows anyway, so streaming services continue to make tonnes of cash without them, making award shows become even more irrelevant than they already are.

        • Also, the fact that a film wins an oscar is almost a negative indicator for me these days.
          So is "critical acclaim". They are either out of touch with reality or shills. I can't decide which. But I think the big studios can cut critics off and leave them without an income, arriving late compared to all the other critics who saw a film for free, a week early, and who get intided to special events.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Amazon....Manchester by the Sea....

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        A lot of people complain about the cinema experience. Too expensive, dirty, no control over volume, no pausing for bathroom breaks etc. They often say they would prefer to watch at home.

        The issue Netflix has is that it can't afford the budgets of really big movies, because the ROI when you only charge less than 10 bucks a month for all-you-can-binge-watch is not there. But not all movies are that expensive, and as shows like The Expanse and Altered Carbon demonstrate it's possible to do really high end stuf

        • It also shows that movies aren't a very good medium compared to mini series for many stories.

          Try imagining either of your examples as a movie, trying to cut it down to 2-2.5 hours would make either horrible IMO. Now things like Game of Throne, Walking Dead, etc.

          Then there's the horror genre which works surprisingly well with a longer run. MTV (yes I know) created a series based off Scream. And you had multiple hours to get to know the characters so you feel more loss when the bodies start dropping.

      • The Oscars were for the express purpose of drumming up interest in movies to sell more tickets, which profits studios and theaters both. Cannes, too.

        Letting Netflix in just benefits Netflix as it is both studio and a single "theater".

        You are seeing a collision of the reality of awards shows vs. the surface fiction of "recognizing a superb job". It never really has been the latter.

        Surprise! Snubs are not really snubs.

    • If things like this preclude Netflix from attending places like Cannes, it only makes sense for Netflix (and every other non-traditional studio) to get together and build their own awards festival.

      It would appear that this is the only logical course. I don't understand Cannes position here, isn't their thing to give awards to good films, not give awards to good films that are distributed only in one specific way? It seems they care more about protecting distribution methods than actual quality of films being made. It will be their loss if they continue down this road.

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Not really. The main point of Cannes is to give showing to small films that otherwise wouldn't be picked up. I don't know how they select which films to offer, as I doubt they could show everything, but they have a history of picking up small, unusual, films that later become popular (as well, of course, as a whole bunch of films that flop).

    • by sd4f ( 1891894 )
      I get the feeling they will start their own awards festivals, after all, my perception is that netflix started producing their own content because the rest of the industry were trying to call the shots on the content they were distributing.
    • But it lacks prestige. Half the reason people go to Cannes is the status increase associated with being associated with Cannes. It ain't about the films. Netflix doesn't enhance status of anyone.
    • Yup. I mean- despite being retired, I see fewer movies in theaters every year.

      I have a decent theater which isn't incredibly expensive and has pleasant enough audiences.

      I'm not sure why I don't go.

    • And really, they should.

      Cannes is not really a good fit for Netflix. It's very much about showcasing the sort of works that don't get as much mainstream publicity. Netflix is a business interested in mass appeal. Nothing wrong with either, and both aspects will try to incorporate parts of the other, but it's not really the same philosophy.

      Netflix are quite capable of showcasing their own works. Amazon and other studios setting up streaming services have a motivation to push streaming generally, in the
  • Why do I get the feeling that the big Hollywood studios are behind this? Having to release the movie in theaters seems like an obvious swipe at streaming services. Cannes - and the Oscars and Emmys for that matter - could disappear tomorrow and I could care less. The ratings on these shows are plummeting. Does anyone outside of the coastal cities even watch this shit anymore?

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Why do I get the feeling that the big Hollywood studios are behind this?

      It's not the studios as much as the theater owners. The studios want to shorten the release windows, to the point of offering BD, DVD, or a la carte VOD at the tail end of a movie's 4-month theatrical run instead of waiting for its conclusion. The studios want to earn some money from people who would otherwise settle for infringing cam/telesync/screener rips, while theater owners don't want to have to compete with legitimate home theater.

    • Let us know when you can't care any less.

  • Netflix could spare some money and buy a defunct movie theater somewhere in France, and just show all their new movies there on a rotating basis. They could make up the money with very overpriced movie food and drinks...

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Netflix already does that with a theater in Los Angeles in order to qualify for Academy Awards. But French law differs from that of the USA. By French media chronology law, doing what you suggest would require Netflix to make the movies in question unavailable on its own service for 36 months after release.

    • No they can't as then they would not be able to show them on Netflix for 3 years due to the fucked up laws in France.
  • They're not in the film business anymore than Hallmark is.

    There's a huge difference between creating films for the big screen and just pumping out content for your own TV station.

    If you want to be a film company then release to theaters.

    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @11:25PM (#56421935)

      They're not in the film business anymore than Hallmark is.

      There's a huge difference between creating films for the big screen and just pumping out content for your own TV station.

      If you want to be a film company then release to theaters.

      Not quite, I think TV Films are pure lowest common denominator, they're more about holding the Network audience than pulling in new people. Make 'em cheap and don't alienate people is the model.

      Netflix is allowed to be more daring, their size gives them a bigger budget, and their audience has a constant demand for adequate content.

      I think the better analogy is direct to video. You can chase a niche audience and drop a moderate budget if you push it, but you'll never get the revenue stream to justify a blockbuster. They need to be good enough to draw an audience, but not so good as to justify a night out.

      That and they sometimes get the big budget films that don't quite turn out [wikipedia.org].

    • by gravewax ( 4772409 ) on Thursday April 12, 2018 @12:12AM (#56422079)

      They're not in the film business anymore than Hallmark is.

      There's a huge difference between creating films for the big screen and just pumping out content for your own TV station.

      If you want to be a film company then release to theatres.

      "Film : a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a cinema or on television."

      They are most definitely in the film business, what they are not is in the theatre business. really they should rename the festival to the Cannes Theatre release film festival.

    • It's a shame you're currently marked 'troll' for having an opposing view.

      I disagree with your assertion that if you're not in cinemas you're not in the film business though. I don't really see why the screen the production is shown on matters - it's the content that counts (to me, at least).

      As for this, Cannes requires you're in French theatres, which means you then need to wait 3 years before you go to DVD/streaming or whatever. For Netflix this is obviously a big problem, and so I'd have to agree with the

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @11:15PM (#56421923)

    "Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes"

    So this year the Netflix "big splash" will occur somewhere else.

  • Netflix was amenable to having their movies play on big screens in France, but a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.

    Where does a law like this originate? So if it is shown is a theater, at all, it automatically cannot be shown on any other medium for 3 years? I can only see this as a law to fuck content creators over because Theater operators have more say with the elected than the electorate. Maybe this is a sign that most of

  • by jaminJay ( 1198469 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @11:35PM (#56421967) Homepage
    "[A] law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release" - customers want it now, not later, and they will probably get it now, or not at all. This kind of law ensures jobs for lawyers, though, I guess...
  • They are so stupid they even wonder why the rest of the world regard them as stupid... Well, this is why.

    A movie cannot have any qualities unless it is shown in french cinemas?!

    Netflix should circumvent this moronic 'rule' by buying a small possibly closed cinema somewhere in France and put up their movies there. Set the ticket price at €1.000.000 or similar so there will be no guests to service.

  • "a law in [France] requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release." What if they release on home platforms first and then decide to release it in the theater? Do they have to wait 3 years before releasing it in the theater? Or can they never show it in a theater in France if it's on a home platform first?
  • but a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.

    Doesn't this put out Cannes every international movie? Or are dvd relases and streaming services delayed in France.

  • does that include things like Blu-Ray?

    Is France just now getting The Martian and Mad Max:Fury Road?

    Do they have to wait until December for Star Wars:The Force Awakens?
  • by ruddk ( 5153113 )

    Sort of unsatisfying.

  • More and more these types of things - film festivals, award shows - are being shown to be irrelevant in the current world. Back in the days before immediate access to everything they were big events that were a way to see the big name actors (gender neutral term). Now you can't avoid seeing them in any online social or media outlet.

    People see the movies they like and those make money. Critics go for the weird, niche movies that no one cares about. And the ones the critics like make it to the festivals and a

  • ... but I'm sure that will suit the French just fine.

  • How silly of them.
  • Netflix was amenable to having their movies play on big screens in France, but a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.

    When questioned about the law, Netflix replied "Yeah, well, we're gonna make our own Film Festival... with blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the Film Festival."

  • Caanes risks becoming irrelevant also.

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin

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