Netflix chiefs rally behind the small screen despite Cannes Film Festival theatrical release rule change


By John McCarthy | Media editor

May 21, 2017 | 4 min read

Video streaming company Netflix is pursuing critical recognition of its original movies but that's proving easier said than done, as traditional players in the space, such as the Cannes Film Festival, enforce the theatrical release window the company is intent on disrupting.

Netflix movie Okja

Netflix movie Okja

Two Netflix movies were supposed to debut at the festival, Okja, and Goddesses In The Flames of War. The Okja showing was greeted with booing after a technical issue disrupted the showing for 15 minutes, although it reportedly ended in a four minute applause at the conclusion.

Goddesses In The Flames of War showing was also cancelled due to a technical issue according to Deadline, underlining a poor showing from the streaming giant in Cannes.

Making life more difficult for Netflix was a new rule for 2018 that requires movies to be have a traditional theatrical release in France, this was followed by a statement from Pedro Almodóvar, Cannes jury president: “The size of the screen should not be smaller than the chair you’re sitting on, you must be feel small and humble in front of the image," he said condemning Netflix's tendency to skip theatrical release windows - an industry process that has also come under fire from director J.J. Abrams.

The incident sparked a response from Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings who said "the establishment is closing ranks against us" on Facebook.

Netflix's chief content officer added to the mix, according to the New York Times: "Why would we want to hold back a movie for an enormous number of people to enjoy throughout the entire country that a few hundred, maybe a few thousand people could see the film in Paris?”

“It seemed to me like the right thing to do was to give the people, our subscribers, who pay to make these movies, access to them immediately all over the world."


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