Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman, arguably Netflix’s biggest film to date, is expected to arrive on the streaming platform later this year. However, thanks to the extensive post-production work, it will reportedly not be ready for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
This is the latest issue to spring up between Netflix and the esteemed festival. The streaming giant debuted at Cannes in 2017, but French cinema owners were none too pleased. Per French law, a film must wait 36 months before it can be available on a streaming service if it first wants to play in French cinemas.
Cannes amended its rules last year, stating that any film playing at the festival must obey the same laws.
This irked Netflix, who had hoped to debut Alfonso Cuaron‘s much-anticipated Roma at the festival. They pulled out at the last minute and instead debuted the film at Venice later in the year. In the wake of the rule changes, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber and Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux have had ongoing talks, but a solution to the French laws has not yet been found.
With The Irishman not ready for this year’s festival, it means Netflix will skip the event for the second year running. However, since that initial spat, Netflix have slightly altered their release strategy. They are giving their biggest films short theatrical windows in the hope of staying in awards contention. The plan worked this year with Cuaron receiving the Best Director Oscar for Roma.
The Irishman is now expected to debut at Venice in September. It will then make the festival rounds ahead of its autumn release. Netflix are obviously hoping for big things considering the talent involved.
The streaming giant also has a few other potential awards contenders in the pipeline. Steven Soderbergh‘s political drama The Laundromat, and The King starring Timothee Chalamet are two other much-anticipated projects. However, it’s unclear when we will see the first glimpses of them.
So Netflix will not have a presence at Cannes for another year. We will wait and see whether either side budges on their position. French laws currently insisting on a 36 month window before hitting a streaming service seems absurdly antiquated in the modern day, and is surely likely to be altered soon.