Cannes: Netflix Considers Limited Theatrical Run for Competition Titles in France

“Similar to French exhibitors, we want to continue to contribute to the development and financing of films,” says Netflix

Last Updated: April 26, 2017 @ 7:35 AM

Netflix is considering a limited theatrical run after French movie exhibitors demanded its films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival get a theatrical release.

“We are exploring theatrical distribution of these two films in France, for a limited theatrical run, day and date with the films’ release on Netflix,” Netflix said in a statement. “We are thrilled to explore any and all options that will give these films an opportunity to be viewed by as large an audience as possible, on a variety of screens, because similar to French exhibitors, we want to continue to contribute to the development and financing of films.”

Earlier this month, The French National Cinema Federation, a group representing the country’s theater owners, issued a statement calling on Netflix to play ball and roll out Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon-Ho’s “Okja” on their screens — a regulatory and financial step the company has been avoiding, they say.

“While France’s exhibitors are neither questioning the independence of the programming of the world’s biggest film festival, nor the emerging of new international players such as Amazon which are contributing to the development and financing of films, we are contesting the festival’s choice … without consulting us,” a spokesperson for FNCF said of including the two projects in the esteemed festival.

“Netflix has been avoiding French regulation and fiscal obligations. These rules allow for the financing of our strong film industry and ecosystem which in turns allows for many French and foreign movies selected at Cannes to get made,” the statement concluded.

In France, a film can’t be shown on a streaming service for 36 months after it was released in theaters, which has prevented Netflix from playing its original movies in the country. However, due to the criticism, the streaming giant is looking to find a compromise and do a theatrical, limited release so it doesn’t trigger chronology, and offered a day-and-date release for the Cannes titles.

The company has a very limited theatrical deal in the U.S. with theater chain iPic, who has screened their titles like “Burning Sands” — and is expected to release their anticipated action flick “Bright,” starring Will Smith and directed by David Ayer.

See the full statement below.

“We are working to protect great cinematic storytelling, like that of Okjaand The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), that will connect films with audiences that will love them. Consumer choice and improved distribution options have helped to make this the most vibrant time in the history of cinema for fans and filmmakers alike, and above everything we want to offer our subscribers in France the opportunity to watch these films wherever, whenever they want — like the rest of our members around the world. We are certain that French film lovers do not want to see these films three years after the rest of the world. With that said, we are exploring theatrical distribution of these two films in France, for a limited theatrical run, day and date with the films’ release on Netflix. We are thrilled to explore any and all options that will give these films an opportunity to be viewed by as large an audience as possible, on a variety of screens, because similar to French exhibitors, we want to continue to contribute to the development and financing of films.”