Which blockbuster films premiered at Cannes?

When you think of the Cannes Film Festival, you inevitably think of movies. But not just any movie. Cannes is associated with adult-oriented dramas that stimulate the brain and often evoke strong, deep emotions in people. There really isn’t a specific format for what a Cannes feature film “looks like” (conceptually the point is that the festival hosts many different types of films), but this is usually an area that values ​​well-founded works that aren’t genre fare. Here like projects shoplifters, Uncle Boonmee who can remember his past livesAnd taste of cherry Allowing your moments to be in the spotlight.

That doesn’t mean, however, that more mainstream dishes haven’t made their way to the Cannes Film Festival as well. On the contrary, numerous blockbusters take place in Cannes each year, using this major cinematic event as an important part of their respective marketing campaigns and release strategies. It certainly sounds strange on paper, the idea that a festival that acts as the home for so many artistic projects could also be the place where they take place shrek screened. But there are a variety of reasons why Cannes has become a go-to destination for such films, which often includes a truly eclectic collection of blockbuster films.

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When did blockbusters start premiering in Cannes?

Sylvester Stallone in the Cliffhanger
Image via TriStar Pictures

Because the traditional summer blockbuster as we know it didn’t exist until 1975 (thanks, Jaw), the Cannes Film Festival before 1975 was largely dominated only by the traditional art house category that the general public associates with this event, apart from the occasional super-mainstream film premiere like Disney’s Peter Pan in the early 1950s. But by the early 1980s it was clear that the Cannes Film Festival would eventually make room for larger-scale productions. Finally, the 1983 festival edition saw a summer box office phenomenon war gamesalthough its $12 million budget, even by 1983 standards, makes it questionable whether or not it’s a true “blockbuster.”

Interestingly, in 1986, one of the very first undeniably “blockbusters” to ever premiere at the event came with a long-forgotten boondoggle, the Roman Polanski directing pirates. It’s not exactly the kind of Amblin-style tent pole people associate with 1980s blockbusters these days, but it does have a mid-July domestic release date and a $40 million budget. pirates certainly suitable as a summer blockbuster. Polanski’s enormous importance in the film world (despite his heinous crimes in the 1970s) also made it clear why the Cannes staff would have selected the film out of competition. The gloomy reception at the premiere in Cannes gave an idea of ​​​​how thorough pirates would be rejected by the general public just a few months later.

The 80s saw a decline in blockbusters

Young man in the forest holding a baby illuminated by light

By the late 1980s, the film was the only other major blockbuster to screen at the Cannes Film Festival pastureA Ron Howard Directing work that was not even technically premiered at the event. The lack of ubiquity of blockbusters at the Cannes Film Festival during this period indicated that there simply weren’t many costly films being produced during this period (as fewer were produced, there were fewer potential blockbusters to premiere at Cannes). and the strict division between “commercial” and “artistic” cinema during this period. The notions of “high” and “low” art were firmly entrenched in most people’s minds and that would prevent the idea of ​​a blockbuster cinema from ever being taken seriously, even if it didn’t face the competition at Cannes .

At the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, however, it came to a head Sylvester Stallone blockbusters cliffhanger Premiered in the Out of Competition category at this event, a significant development considering this was the same Cannes The piano And Farewell, my concubine both took home the Palme d’Or. Meanwhile, the following year, pulp Fiction would take the Cannes Film Festival by storm, redefining genre cinema’s place at the event by winning the Palme d’Or. There was no going back now, especially as movie studios fell in love with blockbuster genre cinemas as an easy way to make money.

Which modern blockbusters premiered in Cannes?

A still from Shrek (2001)
Image via DreamWorks Animation

In the 21st century, it’s becoming increasingly common for major blockbusters to premiere in Cannes. Occasionally, this includes tracks that may originally have been “just” art house titles before eventually becoming big hits Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon, which premiered months before its general release at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where it took audiences by storm. In general, however, the blockbusters debuting in Cannes are titles that the studios are already hoping will draw throngs of moviegoers. A glamorous premiere at Cannes can help boost charts and instill a sense of prestige that further boosts potential box-office hits.

A prime example of this phenomenon was the 2001 feature shrek, which hosted one of its first screenings at the Cannes Film Festival. What’s more, this animated film ran in competition at Cannes, an incredible rarity for a mainstream blockbuster title and something almost never seen in an animated film. Just the fact that it existed as part of the Cannes competition helped solidify the idea shrek was more than just an ordinary fantasy film for young people. This was something adults could also enjoy on their own terms. The fact that shrek The film, which was a gangbuster to Cannes audiences, gave this DreamWorks animated title a huge publicity boost as it geared up for its domestic debut.

In the years since, titles have ranged from Top Gun: Maverick to the last two Indiana Jones Advise (Fate dial was this year’s blockbuster premiere). The BFG All premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, typically in the out-of-competition slot. Traditionally, the blockbusters screened at this event are titles like loner or Indiana Jones Aimed at older viewers who aren’t part of the young-focused annual franchises (like Wizarding World or Marvel Cinematic Universe), it reflects what type of audience is expected in Cannes. In the meantime, we keep these films (with the occasional exception of shrek) out of competition ensures that Cannes can continue to focus on the art house material that doesn’t usually get such a lavish theatrical release launch pad. This is their show, the blockbusters only come as an occasional luxury or indulgence here at the Cannes Film Festival.

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: dustinhuang@24ssports.com.

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