Cannes: French Theater Operators Demand Big-Screen Release of Netflix Films
Bong Joon-ho's 'Okja' and Noah Baumbach's 'The Meyerowitz Stories' are set to screen at the fest, angering French exhibitors.
The Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF) has railed against the inclusion of two Netflix films in Cannes' Official Selection, which was announced Thursday.
Bong Joon-ho’s Okja will be in the running for the Palme d’Or, while Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, starring Adam Sandler, will be shown out of competition.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cannes Film Festival head Thierry Fremaux hinted that Netflix head Ted Sarandos will change his French tune with an announcement during the upcoming event.
Under French law, SVOD services like Netflix must wait 36 months after a film’s theatrical release to stream a film.
But both movies are scheduled to be released on Netflix later this year, and even a Cannes announcement of theatrical release may not satisfy the organization.
The FNCF called for a “quick clarification to be made so that it is confirmed that these works will be able to be released in cinemas in accordance with the current regulatory framework.”
It also said that an online-only release would “call into question their nature as a cinematographic work.”
While the FNCF acknowledged the development of new players in the film financing world, citing Amazon as an example, it said that simultaneous release could be punished by the National Cinema Center (CNC). It also said that Netflix has been avoiding its fiscal obligations in France by skipping theatrical distribution. Theater ticket sales partially fund the CNC.
“For several years, Netflix has bypassed French regulations and tax rules," said the FNCF. "These rules form the basis of the financing structure of an exemplary cinema industry in our country, which is what allows most French and foreign films of the Official Selection to be made.”
Jean Labadie, president of distributor Le Pacte, lambasted the inclusion of the films in Cannes’ official selection, accusing Netflix of promoting “the death of the theaters" and compared the company to two other multinationals that have been flouting local laws.
"They closed their office in France. Their desire to negotiate is like the desire of Uber to pay its drivers and of Google to pay its taxes," he wrote.
ils ont fermé leur bureau en france...— JeanLabadie (@LabadieLePacte) April 14, 2017
leur envie de négocier est comme l'envie d'uber de payer les chauffeurs et de google des impôts https://t.co/VO35apSsK2