As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, it’s the effect on the film industry appears to have moved into the heat of summer. Earlier this morning, Universal‘s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” originally a June release, was delayed indefinitely. Now the status of many other prominent summer blockbusters remains uncertain. However, it’s not just the blockbusters that will take a hit, many of the year’s most significant film festivals are taking a hit.
Following the cancellation of SXSW and the postponement of the Tribeca Film Festival, all eyes turned to the Cannes Film Festival for their decision, seeing as it takes place at the beginning of May. After much persistence, the festival’s organizers announced that Cannes would no longer take place during the original May 12-23 dates. Organizers are considering several courses of action, one of which involves postponing the event to late June. The festival released the following statement:
“At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the COVID-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease. As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes’ City Hall, as well as with the Festival’s board members, film industry professionals and all the partners of the event. In the meantime, the Festival de Cannes lends its vocal support to all of those who firmly call on everyone to respect the general lockdown, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world.”
According to Variety, this also signifies the cancellation of the Cannes Marché du Film, which was set to run alongside the festival.
COVID-19 has impacted much of Europe with countries such as Spain, Italy, and France under lockdown. The decision comes just days after French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a full lockdown of the country for at least two weeks. Whether or not the festival will actually be able to postpone until late June early July is optimistic, given the state of Europe and U.S. travel bans.
While unsurprising, the announcement is another massive blow to the film industry as Cannes is not only considered to be the most prestigious festival but remains the launchpad for many films on the awards circuit (look at “Parasite“).