Cannes: $29,000 for an evening with Leonardo DiCaprio

Cannes: $29,000 for an evening with Leonardo DiCaprio


A ticket for 2,000 euros ($2,900 CAD) to walk the red carpet and attend the screening of the latest Indiana Jones film or 20,000 euros ($29,000 CAD) for an evening in the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio: In Cannes, the black market for prestigious invitations is in full swing. 

If professionals and accredited journalists have access – free of charge – to screenings by booking their tickets online, there are dozens of anonymous people, sometimes in suits and evening dresses, in front of the Palais des Festivals, hoping to recover a precious sesame which will allow them to climb the steps like the stars and discover the feature films selected.

“I have already seen three films without paying anything. Each time, nice people gave me a ticket”: Sienna, an Italian woman in her thirties who lives in Berlin, holds a small cardboard sign on which she writes: “Looking for tickets”. These, in the form of QR codes, can thus be transferred to a third party.

“I will not pay to go see a film that will be released in two or three months,” she says, after seeing Justine Triet's Anatomie d'une chute that day. p>

Different speech for this 25-year-old Finn, wishing to remain anonymous, and who, despite “few means”, would agree to make “an effort” to see “an Almodovar or the last Scorsese”. That evening, he is desperately looking for a place for Firebrand, by Karim Aïnouz, when a young man from Cannes, who says he is a “municipal employee”, offers him a ticket.

< strong>WhatsApp group

Others are trying to monetize their place: an AFP journalist was offered a ticket for Black Flies on Thursday for 50 euros (CA$73).

Not far away, Jenny, a young American from Miami, ends up confiding after a few minutes that she is a member of a WhatsApp group which brings together “about 600 people, sellers and buyers of tickets and invitations”.

She ends up sending several screenshots of conversations, offering paid invitations, such as a ticket to the screening of the fifth Indiana Jones at 2000 euros (2900$ CA).

I'm have ticket for Campari party. Can give to somebody (I have a ticket for the Campari party. I can give it)”, also writes a member of the group in broken English.

A certain Alex answers him: “Could I have the Campari ticket?“. And the seller told him: “Hi, yes 300 euros. Do you have crypto wallet? (OK, 300 euros, do you have a cryptocurrency account?)”.

Another seller offers, still in English, an invitation to an evening with Leonardo DiCaprio at “20,000 euros [$29,000 Canadians] per person” or other invitations for parties or “after-parties” at prices ranging from 9,500 to 16,500 euros ($14,000 to $24,000 CA).

Bought “by influencers” 

For her part, Natalia is “looking for 2 tickets for the red carpet on May 25” and Joe would like to access the “Chopard rooftop” of the Martinez hotel.

Who can afford to pay such sums? “Influencers who have millions of followers and just want to be seen,” says Jenny. “For them or the brands they promote, 2,000 euros is nothing”.

These invitations to the evenings “are offered by the brands to professionals, they are free of charge”, explains a Festival regular on condition of anonymity. “If these invitations, usually in the form of QR codes, end up on the black market, it is because they are resold by unscrupulous professionals who thus make money.”

“As soon as the Cannes Film Festival is informed of proven facts of resale of tickets, we take action, in consultation with the police and judicial authorities. Convictions have already been pronounced in the past,” the organizers reacted to AFP.

According to the police, no proceedings have been initiated this year so far.