Over the last few years, Netflix has been making move after move into the realm of full-on big-budget studio. From announcing plans which seemed to hint at the construction of its own Hollywood studio to eyeing the creation of a licensed merchandise division, Netflix has come a long way from the mail-order DVD service the company began its life as. Now, to add some serious gravitas behind some of its upcoming original film releases, Netflix will debut two of its upcoming original films at the world’s most prestigious film festival – the Cannes Film Festival.
The two films Netflix will screen at Cannes in 2017 are Bong Joon-ho’s monster/fairy tale Okja starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, starring Ben Stiller and the somehow-still-relevant Adam Sandler. After the films debut at Cannes, Netflix will screen the films in a limited theatrical release in a few small French art house theaters. However, that move hasn’t gone uncriticized. The Federation of French Cinemas is protesting the move since Netflix doesn’t pay taxes to theater owners and because French laws state that films cannot appear on streaming services within three years of a theatrical run.
Nevertheless, Netflix is pushing on. Netflix released a statement claiming that the move has the interests of French moviegoers in mind:
We are certain that French film lovers do not want to see these films three years after the rest of the world. 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.
The 2017 Cannes Film Festival will be held May 17th through May 28th. In the U.S., meanwhile, Okja will be released for streaming on Netflix June 28, 2017, while The Meyerowitz Stories does not yet have a streaming release date.
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