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French Theater Owners Demand That Netflix Release Cannes Competition Films In Theaters

Cannes 2017: Streaming giant has been circumventing tax law, day-and-date rules abroad, guild says

French movie exhibitors have tossed cold water on Netflix’s triumph at the Cannes Film Festival this week by demanding its films in competition get a theatrical release.

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.

Representatives for Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

While Netflix has screened at the festival before, their inclusion in the prestigious competition is a big win. The streaming service was already exploring a theatrical run in France, according to media reports.

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.