Does Cannes have a serial thief in their midst? A powerful Chinese film executive had all of his luggage stolen out of his rented apartment this week just days after $1 million worth of Chopard jewelry went missing from a hotel on the city's main strip.
The Hollywood Reporter has most of the details about the latest heist. The luggage belonging to China Film Group vice president Zhang Qiang went missing from the apartment he rented from the Pierre & Vacances Cannes Beach Residence on May 16. He reported on Weibo (China's Twitter equivalent) that he returned home from dinner to his door ajar and his possessions gone. Ahang was forced to cancel a Monday press conference with Keanu Reeves after he received miserable service and became frustrated. This Chinese website has Zhang's Weibo rant in full. At one point he says the hotel was "indifferent" to his claims. They told him to call the police himself and wouldn't check out his room for damage. Eventually he became so fed up with the terrible service he was getting, he lashed out: "This film festival is not worth mentioning!" That's not good for Cannes.
China is the second largest film market in the world after the U.S. And many studios are realizing this and trying to make inroads with Chinese viewers. Previously, many American movies wouldn't receive an official release in China but citizens would still get to see them through a well connected bootleg market. But more and more American studios are altering parts of their movies so they can tap into that sweet honey pot of Chinese cash to boost their global grosses. It's being received with only some success, but give it time. It'll get there.
So why is that bad for Cannes? Zhang is the second ranked official for the country's film board. He's the highest ranked Chinese official at the festival. If he leaves France with a poor taste for the festival then plenty of studios could miss out on big opportunities in the market. Cannes is a time for deal-making, back-scratching and networking. And, on top of all that, this looks really bad when coupled with the $1 million jewel heist that happened earlier this week.
Zhang said on Weibo that he had to leave for Marseilles to fill out travel paperwork, but otherwise the festival, hotel and local authorities all reached out to apologize to him for the poor service he received earlier in the week.