Netflix announced that they have pulled out of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival due to the rule changes, reports Variety.
The move comes as Cannes recently announced that the only films without a theatrical release in France would be prohibited from competing in competition. Netflix could bring their films and have them screen out of competition but Ted Sarandos opted against doing so.
“I don’t think there would be any reason to go out of competition,” Sarandos told Variety. “The rule was implicitly about Netflix, and Thierry made it explicitly about Netflix when he announced the rule.”
Sarandos also took the time to address the international film community.
“We hope that they do change the rules,” Sarandos said. “We hope that they modernize. But we will continue to support all films and all filmmakers. We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back. Thierry had said in his comments when he announced his change that the history of the Internet and the history of Cannes are two different things. Of course they are two different things. But we are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine.”
In 2017, both Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories screened in competition to much outrage (though both were met with positive critical reviews). While Netflix was open to a theatrical release, France is stuck in history as “a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.” Because this law is on the books, it doesn’t fit the model for Netflix. It means that any film has to wait three years before showing up on streaming providers and France is stuck in the past in this regard.