Following an outcry over the decision to let two of its movies compete for the Palme d’Or last year, Netflix has been banned from the competing at the Cannes Film Festival. The streaming service’s refusal to release its films in theatres—barring the very rare simultaneous online and offline launches—is behind the decision.
Two Netflix titles—Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories—were entered into Cannes last year despite criticism from French filmmakers, among others, who said their lack of theatrical runs in France meant they shouldn’t be able to compete. Netflix did try to obtain temporary permits for the movies to get one-week theatrical releases, but French media regulators prevented it and the pair couldn’t reach an agreement.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cannes festival head Theirry Fremaux said: “Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused.”
“The Netflix people loved the red carpet and would like to be present with other films. But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours.”
While Netflix will be able to show its originals at Cannes, it won’t be able to enter the running for the Palme d’Or. It was implied that its films won’t be eligible for any of the festivals other awards, either. The new rules state that starting with this year’s event, films entering the competition will need to have a French theatrical release.
Cannes’ organizers aren’t the only ones who have a problem with Netflix’s movies. Steven Spielberg recently told the UK’s ITV news that they shouldn’t be eligible for Oscars, while The Dark Knight and Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan said the company has a “bizarre aversion” to supporting theater releases
“I think the investment that Netflix is putting into interesting filmmakers and interesting projects would be more admirable if it weren’t being used as some kind of bizarre leverage against shutting down theaters,” Nolan said last year. “It’s so pointless. I don’t really get it.”