Magazine article Screen International

Netflix Boss: Cannes Row Was 'Fantastic for Us'

Magazine article Screen International

Netflix Boss: Cannes Row Was 'Fantastic for Us'

Article excerpt

"Where someone picks a fight with us, that gets a lot of attention."

Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix, has described the controversy over Netflix films appearing in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival as "fantastic for us".

In a wide-ranging interview with Recode, Hastings said: "The two films, The Meyerowitz Stories and Okja, got in [to Cannes] on their own on artistic merit... they were just normal movies.

"But sometimes the establishment is clumsy when they try and shut out the insurgent and then the insurgent's role is to play that up. Where someone picks a fight with us, that gets a lot of attention which then brings attention [to our films].

"[The Cannes row] has been fantastic for us, most importantly for Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, which are small films and very artistic and they'll get a lot more awareness."

After French exhibitors complained about the inclusion of Netflix titles at the festival, Cannes said rules would be changed as of 2018 so that all films in competition were guaranteed a French theatrical release.

Hastings responded with a strongly worded Facebook post at the time that said: "The establishment closing ranks against us. See Okja on Netflix June 28th. Amazing film that theatre chains want to block us from entering into Cannes film festival competition."

Release windows

Hastings discussed this tension between streaming companies and cinema chains in the interview. "We're in a transition period where the movie theatre chains around the world are not willing to allow consumers to choose, but eventually they will," he said. …

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