From a faux terrorist attack to sharks in the French Riviera, promoters often miss the mark with their gaudy Cannes PR stunts.
Faux “Terror Raid” to Promote Oraxy
Guests at Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc got a surprise visit by men outfitted in militia-themed gear last year, who approached the hotel by boat. It was a publicity stunt for the Paris-based Oraxy, which describes itself as “the world’s first private global marketplace reserved exclusively for UHNWI,” or Ultra High Net Worth Individuals.
Sacha Baron Cohen Wears Green Mankini
In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen sported a bright green male thong known as the “mankini” to promote “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
Sacha Baron Cohen Brings a Camel
In 2012, “The Dictator” actor turned up with two model bodyguards and a camel. He even managed to fall off the camel, which bore a license plate with “Wadiya 1” on it – a reference to the fictional North African Republic of Wadiya, where “The Dictator” was set.
T.J. Miller Parachutes in to Debut “Emoji Movie” Trailer
To promote Sony’s “The Emoji Movie,” T.J. Miller parasailed into Cannes before unveiling a trailer for the film, in which he voices Gene, the Meh emoji. Emojis don’t feel very Cannes.
“The Shallows” Brings in Fake Sharks
To promote Blake Lively’s nautical horror film, Screen Gems planted fake sharks in the French Riviera.
Faux Snow for “A Christmas Carol”
Disney tapped Jim Carrey for a new version of “A Christmas Carol” in 2009 — and decided to bring the holiday spirit to Cannes by covering the Croisette with snow. Not the best example of reading the room or, in this case, the luxurious French beach town in the middle of May. Shout out to Robin Wright and Colin Firth in the background for looking horrified at the faux snowball fight.
Jerry Seinfeld Flies In to Promote “Bee Movie”
In 2007, Jerry Seinfeld took Cannes by air to promote his big animated push for Disney, for which he served as writer and star and recruited pals like Chris Rock. His giant bee costume might have been worse than his notorious “Seinfeld” puffy shirt.
Angelina Jolie, Will Smith Ride Inflatable Shark
Will Smith, Angelina Jolie and Jack Black rode a 14-foot inflatable shark to promote “Shark Tale” in 2004.
Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake promoted “Trolls” in 2016 with an array of women wearing bright-colored outfits and wigs reminiscent of the costumes in the movie. Also, they’re all in gowns — a play on Cannes fashion?
Gaspar Noe’s Graphic Makeout Posters to Promote “Love”
Gaspar Noe at first shocked — and then satisfied — critics with his depiction of sex on film. He was praised for depicting the joyous and fervent act and staying mostly out of the realm of straight-up pornography. Promoting the film, however, was a different story. Producers wallpapered Cannes in posters of a saliva-covered triple kiss and an NSFW image of a penis and a woman’s breast after climax.
Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme Hold Impromptu Stage Fight
Both “Universal Soldier” actors held a stage fight on the steps of a famed staircase in 1992. Many believed it was real, but Lundgren told The Hollywood Reporter that it was planned.
Dead pigeons for “24 Hour Party People”
In 2002, actors impersonating the band Happy Mondays mimicked a scene of the movie by throwing fake dead pigeons from the beach onto unsuspecting victims, who believed thousands of dead birds were falling from the sky, the BBC reported.
Naked Bike Rides
Felix van Groeningen, the filmmaker behind “The Misfortunates,” decided to recreate a scene from his film where a dysfunctional family rides bikes in the nude. Just hours before a press conference, the director and his team disrobed and flew down the Croisette in the buff. A staffer on a motorcycle followed with their underwear, in case French police got a gander at them.
The Cast of “The Expendables 3” Comes Out in Three Tanks
Producer Avi Lerner got three English World War II-era tanks into France to promote “The Expendables 3” in 2014. This wasn’t all fun and games, as Lerner had to sign an affidavit to the government of France to ensure that his stunt wasn’t interpreted as a declaration of war.
Howard Stern and His “Private Parts”
Radio legend Howard Stern had a 40-foot inflated balloon of himself naked near the beach to promote his 1997 biopic “Private Parts.” However, France’s then-President Jaques Chirac was visiting Cannes and his security detail considered the balloon too crude to remain up. Though when Chirac left, Stern and his team reinflated it.
It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!
To promote “Superman,” Alexander Salkind–who was the film’s supervisor–and Ilya, his son, hired prop planes to fly around the Croisette in 1975. In 1976, they got even more planes and in 1977, they hired a whole fleet of planes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Muscle Pose
While promoting his bodybuilding-centered documentary film, “Pumping Iron,” Arnold Schwarzenegger posed in a Speedo with a group of fully-clothed women to a beach audience.