Cannes: film firms fight back as streamers stumble

STORY: The red carpet has been rolled out, and the stars are gathering.

This year’s Cannes Film Festival is under way on the French Riviera.

And behind the glitz, there is some very serious business to be done.

Cannes is the world’s largest event for buying and selling movie rights, making it critical to the industry.

Almost 4,000 films and projects will be in the shop window, with countless deals to be done.

And this year film makers and cinema chains are feeling more optimistic.

They’re betting people are keen to go out to the movies again, after years stuck at home streaming content.

Just this month, cinema chain AMC posted strong results, boosted by the success of the “Super Mario Bros. Movie”.

Hollywood Reporter European bureau chief Scott Roxborough says the festival lineup offers plenty of hope for new releases:

“I was going through a list a couple of days ago and they're at least 30, 35 really big titles where I think pretty much all of them are going to sell, pretty much all of them are going to get made. And they range from sort of big sequels or sort of blockbusteresque films that were made on the independent side.”

Cannes also finds streaming giants under pressure, with Netflix and rivals finding it harder to add viewers in a crowded market.

Some are also now trying to work with cinemas, instead of against them.

Apple and Paramount are teaming up to debut Martin Scorsese’s next film in movie theaters before it goes to streaming.

Tougher times for the big players may even help smaller film producers:

“Netflix, Amazon and so forth have started to reduce their investment in film by not buying as many independent films, not buying all rights for independent films and so forth. And the theatrical business that is cinema going box office has been coming back quite strongly in the last number of months in the U.S. and, and a lot of countries internationally. And so, people who buy films are seeing an actual positive growth business there.”

But not all experts think moviegoing is about to boom again.

One industry veteran told Reuters that older viewers had got used to streaming during the global health crisis - and will be hard to tempt out again.