Organizers say the festival's opening-night film will be "Up," a 3-D animated feature from hitmaking studio Pixar.
The film is a comedy adventure about a 78-year-old man, voiced by Ed Asner, who rigs helium balloons to his house and flies to South America.
It marks Cannes' return to a populist curtain raiser after last year's bleak opener, "Blindness," and is the first animated film to open the world's most prestigious film festival.
The festival said Thursday that "Up" would have its world premiere May 13 at the festival and open in the United States on May 29.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 13 to 24.