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Cafe Society
Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society.” (Gravier Productions via Cannes Festival)

Amazon Studios scored a major victory this week with the news that its latest film, Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society,” will open the 69th Cannes Film Festival in May.

Amazon reportedly paid $20 million earlier this year to secure the rights to Allen’s picture. According to the Cannes website, “Cafe Society” “tells the story of a young man who arrives in Hollywood during the 1930s hoping to work in the film industry, falls in love, and finds himself swept up in the vibrant café society that defined the spirit of the age.”

Woody Allen
Woody Allen. (Via Shutterstock)

The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Parker Posey and Steve Carell. This is a record third time that an Allen film has been selected to open Cannes. Previous selections from the 80-year-old director were 2002’s “Hollywood Ending” and 2011’s “Midnight in Paris.”

The Atlantic reports that the high price Amazon paid for the film lured Allen away from his usual backer, Sony Pictures Classics. “Cafe Society” will get a theatrical rollout before jumping to streaming. Last year, the studio released Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.”

Amazon also acquired, for $10 million, the must-see movie out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival — “Manchester by the Sea,” starring Casey Affleck. The film is due out in December in time for an Oscar run. Making a strong showing during awards season will go a long way toward establishing Amazon, and rival Netflix, as legitimate players in the film business.

Earlier this month, studio bigs Ted Hope and Bob Berney discussed Amazon’s film strategy at Variety’s Massive marketing and advertising conference.

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