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Hollywood and Cannes start warming to each other
Updated: 2004-05-14 09:14

Hollywood and Cannes always had a love-hate relationship. Now they have come closer together in a marriage of convenience.

Brad Pitt, right, and his wife Jennifer Aniston arrive for the screening of the film 'Troy,' directed by German director Wolfang Petersen, at the 57th Film Festival in Cannes, France, Thursday, May 13, 2004. [AP]
Partly prompted by hard economics, the world's movie capital has discovered that the flashy Riviera festival is after all a good place to showcase its wares.

Cannes has traditionally had a reputation of being the home of world rather than American cinema, a showcase of often intense, "art" films at the opposite end of the spectrum to the populous blockbuster.

Big U.S. stars like Robert Mitchum and Edward G. Robinson have attended in the past but the studios were never greatly enamoured of the 57-year-old festival.

Now, however, things are changing.

Once, the summer heralded big releases in the United States with the international market following on later.

But as piracy has become a major concern, the big studios are opting for worldwide simultaneous releases to ensure that black market profiteers don't get hold of copies first and sell them on from territory to territory.

That means the need to make just one big publicity splash rather than lots of separate ones in each country.

Which in turn makes the captive audience of 5,000 showbusiness journalists in this French resort for almost two weeks, more tempting.

Cannes has become an ideal opportunity for movie moguls to fly in their big stars to promote the latest films.

On Thursday, it was the turn of Brad Pitt, promoting the sword-and-sandals epic "Troy" with a big screen showing and press conference.

Last year, it was Keanu Reeves who took top billing with the "Matrix" sequel.

In fact, Hollywood moviemakers are now sometimes not even waiting for a film to be complete, coming here with just preview clips.

Director Peter Jackson gave the world its first glimpse of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy with a 20-minute peek at Cannes.

This year Will Smith and Angelina Jolie are coming to present the trailer for a new animation movie "Shark's Tale" for which they do the voiceovers. The film is not released until October.

The festival, too, gains from the new Hollywood thinking.

After last year's selection of films was universally lambasted for their mediocrity, it is eagerly welcoming the big names.

For, as Cannes Festival President Gilles Jacob concluded bluntly: "People will no longer put up with boring films."

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