Berliner Tageblatt - Coppola epic 'Megalopolis' lands deal for US theater release

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Coppola epic 'Megalopolis' lands deal for US theater release
Coppola epic 'Megalopolis' lands deal for US theater release / Photo: © AFP

Coppola epic 'Megalopolis' lands deal for US theater release

Francis Ford Coppola's new film "Megalopolis" -- a wildly ambitious and divisive epic that cost its legendary director a vast personal fortune to make -- has finally found a US distributor, it was announced Monday.

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Hollywood studio Lionsgate will release the decades-in-the-making movie in North American theaters on September 27, the company said in a statement to AFP.

The announcement ends speculation over whether the film would ever reach the big screen in Coppola's native US, after its much-hyped world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last month left the industry confounded.

In a plot that is hard to summarize, Adam Driver stars as a seemingly magical architect whose efforts to rebuild a decaying city into a futuristic utopia are thwarted by its resentful mayor (Giancarlo Esposito).

The movie boasts a stellar cast including Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf and Dustin Hoffman.

Critics' responses have ranged from "a true modern masterwork" to a "catastrophe." Hopes for a quick sale to a top Hollywood studio at the French movie gathering did not materialize.

Announcing the deal Monday, Lionsgate's movie division chair Adam Fogelson said his studio strives "to be a home for bold and daring artists, and Megalopolis proves there is no one more bold or daring than the maestro, Francis Ford Coppola."

Lionsgate is a mid-sized studio that has enjoyed success with smash hit franchises such as "The Hunger Games", "John Wick" and "Saw."

It previously released extended versions of Coppola films including "Apocalypse Now" on home entertainment formats.

According to its website, Lionsgate films have collectively won 71 Oscars, and grossed $15 billion.

Terms of the new deal were not revealed.

But Coppola has said he spent $120 million of his own money to make "Megalopolis", selling a stake in his California vineyard.

The film already has separate deals for release in dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere, and at Cannes last month 85-year-old Coppola told a press conference that "the money doesn't matter."

But "Megalopolis" will likely need a successful theatrical run in the US -- the world's biggest box office -- if Coppola is to recoup much of his investment.

In the Lionsgate statement on Monday, Coppola said: "One rule of business I've always followed and prioritized (to my benefit) is to continue working with companies and teams who over time have proven to be good friends as well as great collaborators.

"This is why I am thrilled to have Adam Fogelson and Lionsgate Studios release Megalopolis.

"I am confident they will apply the same tender love and care given to Apocalypse Now, which is currently in its 45th year of astounding revenue and appreciation."