Cannes Film Festival Confirms Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Will Bow on the Croisette

The Cannes Film Festival has confirmed that Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated “Killers of the Flower Moon” will world premiere on the Croisette. The event will mark Scorsese’s first time presenting a film at Cannes since winning best director for “After Hours” in 1986.

The festival has not yet specified whether the film will play in or out of competition.

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The Apple original film brings together a starry cast, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion and Tantoo Cardinal. All of them are expected to hit the red carpet, along with additional cast and members of the filmmaking team, the festival said.  The movie was produced by Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas at Imperative. The world premiere is set for May 20, which falls on a Saturday, at the prestigious Grand Théâtre Lumière.

Earlier this week, Apple revealed that “Killers of the Flower Moon” will first be released exclusively in theaters worldwide, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, limited on Oct. 6, and wide on Oct. 20, before streaming globally on Apple TV.

In France, the movie won’t roll out on Apple until 17 months following its theatrical release under the current windowing rules. A French publicist working on the film confirmed to Variety that Apple will comply to the local windowing rules. Since “Killers of the Flower Moon” will open theatrically in France, the film could play in competition.

Securing Scorsese’s movie at Cannes is a major coup for the festival’s chief Thierry Fremaux and follows months of discussions with Apple and Paramount. Fremaux told Variety in a long interview published this week that one of the important things for this upcoming 76th edition of the festival “was is to make sure that Martin Scorsese attends with his new film which is an important work.” Although the movie runs nearly 4 hours, it will likely thrive in theaters in France where movies from renowned American filmmakers routinely surpass box office expectations. Recent examples include Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans.”

While the movie was reportedly heavily courted by Venice festival boss Alberto Barbera, the filmmakers opted to premiere “Killers of the Flower Moon” at Cannes. The French Riviera-set fest had banner 2022 edition playing host to “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis,” both of which were nominated for best picture at the Oscars, alongside Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or winning “Triangle of Sadness.”

Based on David Grann’s best-selling book and written for the screen by Eric Roth and Scorsese, the film unfolds in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of Native Americans and the investigation into the string of brutal crimes by the FBI.

Director, screenwriter, actor and producer, Martin Scorsese has dedicated his life to cinema and the Festival de Cannes has been at his side on many occasions. He was awarded the Palme d’Or in 1976 for “Taxi Driver,” which was presented in Competition. He subsequently came back to the official selection on a regular basis and won best director for “After Hours,” 10 years after the success of “Taxi Driver.”

In 1998, Scorsese was back in Cannes to preside over the competition jury. Four years later, he chaired the jury for the Cinéfondation and short films alongside Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami.

Scorsese has also represented numerous films at Cannes Classics through his banner The Film Foundation which is dedicated to protecting and preserving film classics.

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