For two weeks every May, the French seaside town of Cannes is transformed into a glamorous destination in the film landscape hosting one of the most prestigious international festivals of the entire year. But in order to make the star-studded red-carpet event happen each year, Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux hurdles the long and intensive process of selecting the slate of films that will be screened, the premieres that will be debuted, and the categories where they will appear either in or out of competition.
An appearance at Cannes is sure to boost a film’s global attention whether it is an international arthouse work, a prestige awards player, or a Hollywood blockbuster. Frémaux has made it clear to studio executives that he is going to highlight selections from all these tiers as he attempts to outsize even the grand 2022 edition of the festival which featured Tom Cruise, an aerial display, and a launchpad for the film’s massive box office success of nearly $1.5 billion global gross. Although the May timeframe is significantly removed from the fall Oscar season, attention has been moving toward Cannes premieres for major contenders with the likes of Parasite catapulting from a Palme d’Or to the Best Picture, and this year featuring three films that all found places in the Best Picture nomination lineup—Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, and Triangle of Sadness.
With Frémaux in full programming mode for the festival approaching in a couple of months’ time, studios are weighing which of their films are primed to hit the Croisette. After ultimately deciding to push Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon to 2023, Apple is considering sending the film and its cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Jesse Plemons while Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City and its ensemble of A-listers is likely to make its appearance. On the blockbuster side, Disney is also discussing a return trip for Harrison Ford and company for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny after Kingdom of the Crystal Skull appeared in 2008. The power struggle for July 21 audiences between Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer may have its first round in the cage at Cannes, although Warner Bros. and Universal have not committed to the rumors circulating their appearances. Oppenheimer appears less likely due to inside reports.
Other films in the Cannes conversation are Monster from Palme d’Or-winning Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu, How Do You Live? from animation master Hayao Miyazaki, and Pedro Almodóvar’s Strange Way of Life. The lineup will surely have a variety of major titles hand-selected by Frémaux with intense curation that could potentially have ripple effects for the remainder of the year going into the awards season next fall. Notifications will be sent to talent if they have made the cut later in March.