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Some movies have received long standing ovations at the Cannes Film Festival. Are they actually any good?

In Entertainment
May 24, 2024

The Cannes Film Festival is notorious for its lengthy standing ovations.

It’s tradition for audience members to stand and clap for long periods as a show of good faith to the cast and crew members who attended the screening. This year is no different: Movies like The Substance and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga received more than five minutes of unrelenting applause.

The length of time patrons are willing to smash their hands together in appreciation isn’t always reflective of future success for the film, however. We took a look at data from IMDBPro, but didn’t find a direct correlation between length of applause and a movie’s box office prospects.

The now iconic Pan’s Labyrinth earned Cannes’s longest ovation ever at a whopping 22 minutes. It went on to quadruple its budget at the box office. Other notable movies like the mega-blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick and Best Picture winner The Artist received five and 12 minutes of feverish clapping, respectively.

Members of the cast and crew at the premiere of

Members of the cast and crew at the premiere of “Pan’s Labyrinth” in Cannes. (Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images)

However, a few movies that flopped financially and critically received long ovations too. The Neon Demon’s ovation went on for 17 minutes, The Paperboy’s lasted for 15 minutes and The Beaver’s clocked in at 10 minutes.

Though we’re not sure how the films will be received by the general public, we know how applause-worthy the Cannes audience found highly anticipated 2024 releases. The seven-minute ovation for Horizon: An American Saga brought tears to star/writer/director/producer Kevin Costner’s eyes. So far, the Demi Moore-led movie The Substance has inspired the longest ovation at 11 minutes, according to Variety.

Kevin Costner and other

Kevin Costner and other “Horizon: An American Saga” cast members at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. (JB Lacroix/FilmMagic)

Audiences at Cannes are also notorious for booing films. Pulp Fiction was booed for winning the festival’s top prize. The same thing happened to Taxi Driver. Both films ultimately landed on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest movies of all time.

Ultimately, the only thing the Cannes ovations and boos reveal is how long those particular audience members are willing to stand or shout. It’s still fun to keep track, though, so here are the longest ovations in Cannes history:

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) — 22 minutes

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) — 20 minutes

Mud (2012) — 18 minutes

The Neon Demon (2016) — 17 minutes

Once Upon a Time in America (1984) — 15 minutes

The Paperboy (2012) — 15 minutes

Two Days, One Night (2014) — 15 minutes

Capernaum (2018) — 15 minutes

Happy as Lazzaro (2018) — 15 minutes

Belle (2021) — 14 minutes

Sam Matthews contributed reporting.

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