Cannes 2015: Studios to drop in with 'Mad Max,' 'Inside Out'

'Mad Max,' 'Inside Out' and 'Irrational Man' will screen out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival

This week the movie world descends on the Cannes Film Festival for 12 days of ritzy red-carpet premieres, hobnobbing on yachts, and nonstop wheeling and dealing.

While an international array of filmmakers vies for the coveted Palme d'Or prize and distributors, agents and producers hawk their wares at the film market, a few Hollywood studios will use the gathering as a launchpad for their high-profile movies.

Warner Bros. will speed onto the Croisette with the post-apocalyptic action reboot "Mad Max: Fury Road," which is making its world premiere out of competition on Thursday, a day after the fest opens and a day before the film hits U.S theaters.

Directed and co-written by George Miller, who helmed three previous franchise installments starring Mel Gibson, "Fury Road" finds Tom Hardy taking over as the titular antihero and Charlize Theron playing a tough-as-nails imperator.

For Miller, the Cannes premiere will close a circle begun back in 1979, when the original "Mad Max" screened for market buyers. The Australian filmmaker also served on the competition jury in 1988 and 1999.

Disney-owned Pixar is also returning to Cannes after its adventure-comedy "Up" opened the festival in 2009. The animation house's first film since 2013, "Inside Out," will make its world premiere May 18 (out of competition) before opening June 19 in the U.S.

Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, "Inside Out" gets inside the head, quite literally, of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who gets uprooted from her life in the Midwest when her dad takes a new job in San Francisco. The film focuses on Riley's emotions, which are personified by Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Phyllis Smith.

Sony will also be represented at the festival via its specialty label Sony Pictures Classics, which is to unveil Woody Allen's new movie "Irrational Man" out of competition. Opening stateside July 17, the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a tormented philosophy professor who finds new meaning in life when he commits an illogical act to help a stranger.

Allen has been a Cannes fixture, taking 11 movies there over the years. His last one to make the trip, "Midnight in Paris," opened the festival in 2011.

Along with "Midnight" and the aforementioned "Up," big-name American movies often have kicked off the fest in recent years, including Universal's "Robin Hood" in 2010, Warner Bros.' "The Great Gatsby" in 2013 and the Weinstein Co.'s "Grace of Monaco" last year.

That didn't work out quite so well for the latter film, however, which received a muted response and dreadful reviews before ultimately ending up at Lifetime. By contrast, this year's festival is opening with a decidedly French film in Emmanuelle Bercot's coming-of-age drama "La Tete Haute."

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