Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis faces big distribution challenge

Francis Ford Coppola
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Francis Ford Coppola has independently funded his $100m+ dream project Megalopolis – but there are few takers to distribute it.

The journey towards the screen for Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis has been an interesting one to observe, and that looks set to continue as the independently-funded project searches for a distributor.

Back in 2019, before cameras had even rolled on the production, there was talk that the reported $120m project was struggling to acquire financing and so Coppola, ever the filmmaking maverick (even at the grand age of 85), reportedly put in a hefty chunk of the money himself.

Then, during production there were reports of a chaotic set and ‘severe difficulties’ creating havoc for cast and crew. While these reports were duly denied, it all added to the legend that has continued to brew around the film, even if few have seen it yet.

Well, now people have seen it and what’s more, those people are the types of major studio players that possess the power to pick up Megalopolis for distribution.

However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, following an IMAX screening to Hollywood’s top brass, the film hasn’t convinced any of the major studios (or streamers for that matter) that it’s a safe bet to earn fund the $100m marketing campaign that Coppola is looking for.

Megalopolis follows ‘the rebuilding of a metropolis after its accidental destruction, with two competing visions — one from an idealist architect (Adam Driver), the other from its pragmatist mayor (Giancarlo Esposito) — clashing in the process.’

The film also features a star-studded cast that includes Dustin Hoffman, Aubrey Plaza, Game Of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Shia LaBeouf, Grace VanderWaal, Kathryn Hunter and James Remar. 

Despite the starry cast and Coppola’s enduring name value, the report suggests that the film will struggle to find the kind of wide (read: expensive) distribution that Coppola is aiming for.

The piece quotes unnamed distributors who suggest that “there is just no way to position this movie” while another is quoted as saying, “everyone is rooting for Francis and feels nostalgic,” but then “there is the business side of things.”

Given the rather public flak the film has had to endure ever since being announced, it would be wonderful if Megalopolis were to release and prove the doubters wrong and it wouldn’t be the first time that Coppola has silenced his detractors through the resounding impact of his work.

As it stands, though, the prediction being bandied around is that the film eventually will be picked up by a boutique distributor like A24 or Neon who understand how to market more niche projects. Until that’s confirmed though, all we really have to go on are reports like this one.

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