Hollywood insiders are split on whether Netflix’s war with Cannes will hurt its business (NFLX)

Ted Sarandos Cannes AP

Netflix has pulled its titles from playing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival following a rule change.
The industry has conflicting thoughts on this latest bold move from the streaming giant.

Since Netflix began releasing its own movies, it’s disrupted the industry by going against decades-old exclusivity agreements with exhibitors. It’s also used film festivals as a platform for its titles, putting them on the site soon after they screen, and not giving them a run in theaters before streaming.

The latter is what got the exhibitor community in France angry last year when the renowned Cannes Film Festival showed two Netflix films in competition. It led to a rule change going into this year that no movie could be shown in competition if it had no plans for a theatrical release in France.

Last week, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos fired back, announcing that the company would not screen any of its titles at this year’s Cannes Film Festival due to the rule change. This has sparked directors, producers, and even the Cannes head programmer Thierry Fremaux to ask Netflix to reconsider.

Some in the industry are even wondering if the streaming giant has finally crossed the line.

“Fundamentally, I believe Netflix does not see value in the existing domestic film community infrastructure to audiences, but they seem to want the credibility that this infrastructure lends to their prestige projects without having to fully participate in the community,” a veteran film festival director told Business Insider. “This is clear in the current Cannes dispute.”

And if it’s perceived Netflix has a lack of interest in the film community, will this make filmmakers think twice about working with them?

Producer Filip Jan Rymsza, who had been toiling for years to get Orson Welles final movie “The Other Side of the Wind” to audiences, admitted that if it weren’t for Netflix that dream would never have become a reality (it will be available on the site later this year). But the movie’s coming-out party was to be this year’s Cannes (where Welles was beloved), and with the ban he said that the appreciation he had for Netflix’s deep pockets didn’t “lessen my disappointment and heartbreak.”

And there are plenty of other filmmakers who have said that if it weren’t for Netflix, their movies would not have been made — from Duncan Jones (“Mute”) to Martin Scorsese (his upcoming “The Irishman”).

But it’s uncertain if the latest move by Netflix will lose them

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