Netflix ‘Blonde’ a No-Show at Cannes

Although Marilyn never had the opportunity to visit Cannes, the French city and the annual film festival held there has long appreciated her as an icon of cinema. A giant Monroe mural looms over the Boulevard d’Alsace, and in 2012, Marilyn was the poster girl for the festival’s 65th birthday.

Andrew Dominik’s long-awaited adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, Blonde, was first optioned at Cannes in 2013. After being picked up by Netflix and shot in late 2019, its opening was delayed due to the COVID crisis. Blonde is now thought to be scheduled for release later this year, and as with other Netflix prestige pictures (like Roma, The Irishman, and Mank), it will probably have a very limited theatrical release – in order to qualify for next year’s awards season – before going online.

However, Netflix has rejected an invitation to preview Blonde, and other upcoming movies, at Cannes in July. Whatever your thoughts on Blonde (and I have plenty of reservations with the source material), the streaming giant’s snub to the world’s leading film festival is an ominous sign at a time when theatres worldwide are struggling to get back on their feet.

Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux discussed this year’s line-up, and the Netflix no-show, with Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione.

“DEADLINE: Are there other films that you would have liked to have had on the Croisette?

FREMAUX: Our tradition is not to talk about films we didn’t get, but I know there are films that weren’t ready and that if they are ready, we’ll see in the fall at my colleagues’ festivals in Venice, Saint Sebastian, Telluride, New York, London and it will be with great happiness. I think that cinematographic creativity is at a very high level right now.

DEADLINE: Did you try to get Jane Campion and Paolo Sorrentino’s Netflix movies to the festival this year?

FREMAUX: Sorrentino’s movie is not at all ready. Jane Campion’s movie could have been ready, Andrew Dominik’s film [Blonde] could have been ready — it’s beautiful, I saw it — and I invited those films Out of Competition. Netflix doesn’t want to come to Cannes, but I invited them anyway and alas … It’s important, it’s not us refusing Netflix movies, it’s Netflix who doesn’t want or can’t … They want to come in Competition but films that are part of the Competition must be released (theatrically) in France.

DEADLINE: Do you think this may change at some point?

FREMAUX: Globally, I think yes, it is going to change one day. I think that all over the world, the question of windows, of the protection of theatrical, of the appearance of platforms — all of this is a fundamental phenomenon of the world of the moving image and we want Cannes to be  in some way at the heart of that. But, I’d like that Netflix is also at the heart of that. However, Netflix protects its system, its subscribers, its clients. I would have loved that they come Out of Competition also to show the quality of their work, the quality of their productions. But to see the quality of their productions, you have to go to Netflix. Fortunately, I’m a subscriber and I love Netflix, but my job is to show films. I would also love to show Netflix films.”