Cannes Predictions - Part 2: Hollywood Makes a Splash Overseas
April 5, 2023
As one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, the Cannes Film Festival always attracts the attention of cinephiles and industry professionals alike. Each year, the festival presents a diverse lineup of films that represent the best of international cinema, including both established and emerging filmmakers. With the 76th edition of the festival set to take place in May, film enthusiasts around the world are eagerly anticipating the announcement of the official selection on April 13th.
While the festival organizers keep their cards close to their chest, there are already some strong players emerging as likely contenders for the coveted Cannes spotlights. In this four-part series, I’ll take a closer look at some of the films that are generating buzz and predict which ones are likely to make it to the Croisette this year.
Each part will represent a category of films, which are:
Hollywood Makes a Splash
The Festival Mainstays
The Irregulars and Up-and-Comers
This second part encompasses the biggest fish in the pond, which are the Hollywood blockbusters from the major studios. Cannes may be a Mecca for international cinema, but that doesn’t mean they exclude the big boys. The festival thrives on star power, and nothing rolls out the red carpet more than a blockbuster with lots of names attached to it. Both Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis started their journeys on the Croisette, as well as Mad Max: Fury Road and The Da Vinci Code in the years prior. Let’s take a look at which big tent poles might debut in the Palais.
Which of these films are you most interested in? I'll be keeping you all posted on my adventures and sharing my thoughts on the films that I see. Stay tuned for more updates!
With Asteroid City a certainty to debut on the French Riviera, Cannes now replaces Berlin as the film festival to debut the most Anderson films. Moonrise Kingdom opened the festival in 2012, and The French Dispatch sat on a shelf throughout the pandemic to ensure it debuted at the 2021 edition. Cannes thrives on star power to fill its historic red carpet, and Anderson’s films have plenty to spare. His newest cast will feature no less than Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, and Jeffrey Wright.
A rumor has been slowly spreading over the past few years that Todd Haynes’ Carol was a near lock to win the Palme d’Or in 2015, but was snubbed at the last minute by jury member Xavier Dolan. The film had to settle for a joint Best Actress prize for Rooney Mara. His newest film finished production in November, reuniting him with Julianne Moore, and bringing Natalie Portman back into the fold.
Coming off the blazing Oscar success of The Favourite, all eyes are on what Yorgos Lanthimos will do next. He’s keeping his partnership with leading lady Emma Stone and screenwriter Tony McNamara for Poor Things, which will be set in Victorian England and about a mad scientist who brings a woman back to life. Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Margaret Qualley mix into the supporting cast. Lanthimos’ unique arthouse sensibilities have matched well with Cannes in the past, with Dogtooth, The Lobster, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, all winning various prizes. Now that Oscar buzz follows Lanthimos wherever he goes, Searchlight Pictures will have to make a decision of sending the film to a festival with an already established fandom for Lanthimos or wait and debut it in the fall with the rest of the Oscar bunch.
Killers of the Flower Moon
With extensive reshoots and release date delays, Martin Scorsese’s epic western has become one of his longest projects to get to audiences. Rumors started to swirl late last year that the film was eyeing a premiere on the Riviera, followed by a fall festival tour. With CODA becoming the first streaming film to win Best Picture, Apple will do everything in its power to repeat that success.
The Little Mermaid
The timing lines up perfectly for Disney to use the festival as a launching pad for the international release of their newest live-action remake. The film packs plenty of buzzy names such as Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy and an acclaimed director in Rob Marshall.
While we’ll have to wait almost another two decades for Richard Linklater’s ambitious adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along, the famed Texan filmmaker has something up his sleeve to tide us over. Top Gun: Maverick star Glen Powell, a frequent collaborator of Linklater’s, co-wrote the screenplay with him for this story of a hitman who turns the tables on those who hire him. It’s been twenty years since Linklater last competed on the Croisette (2005’s Fast Food Nation), so it might be time for him to be brought back into the fold.
Very few filmmakers carry as much name value as Christopher Nolan, who will be potentially delivering a more stripped-down story about the trials and tribulations of the titular father of the atomic bomb. Nolan has never shown one of his films at Cannes, but he did introduce his 70mm restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey before it was pushed into theaters. If Nolan does decide to bring his material this time, then a glitzy out-of-competition premiere would be the most likely route taken.
Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, Jodie Comer, Norman Reedus, and Boyd Holbrook star as members of a Midwestern motorcycle club in writer/director Jeff Nichols’ return to feature filmmaking after a brief hiatus. Nichols served on the jury last year and brought both Mud and Loving to the Croisette.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Cannes thrives on a small batch of Hollywood blockbusters looking to make a splashy international premiere, as evidenced by Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis grabbing headlines last year. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull debuted at the festival back in 2008, so there is precedent for the famed archaeologist to stop by.