Streaming giant Netflix has finally decided to exit the coveted Cannes Film Festival in entirety after the festival’s leader decided to ban those films from competing which haven’t had a theatrical release in France. Media reports have quoted Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix, stating that the decision was made only after escalating tensions between the streaming service and Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux.
While Netflix is banned to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or award, it was told it could still screen its films at Cannes if it liked. But the streaming giant decided to not attend the festival in any official capacity.
The ban was announced last month, saying that films that want to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or award must have a French theatrical release to be eligible. While the new rule was announced last year, it came to effect for this year’s Cannes, taking place in May.
This new rule was announced after French theater owners, filmmakers, and labor unions intensely protested the inclusion of Netflix films Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories last year, the first time Netflix competed at Cannes. The company had day-and-date releases for both films, meaning they showed in theaters in some markets on the same day they went live on its streaming service. But Netflix did not show either film in any French theaters.