‘Godfather’ Director Francis Ford Coppola Finished His 40-Year Passion Project ‘Megalopolis’ – But No One Wants To Distribute It 

The Donfather
Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) listens to an offer he has to refuse in The Godfather (1972), Paramount Pictures

Legendary auteur Francis Ford Coppola has finally finished a film many consider his would-be magnum opus. Decades in the making, it is appropriately proving to be his most ambitious project to date. However, its woes and delays won’t be over if it can’t find a studio to release it.

Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall in The Godfather (1972), Paramount Pictures

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Megalopolis was a reputed grand spectacle Coppola put on hold over 20 years ago because of a devastating event in the story that rocked a city modeled after New York. The Big Apple was recovering from 9/11 at a pivotal point of development. and a fictional tragedy mirroring a real one was a no-go.

Fast-forward to today and Coppola has completed production on the experimental drama about a collapsing society and is seeking distribution to coincide with a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The problem is no bidder knows what to make of it.

Gary of the Knight
Gary Oldman as Vlad The Impaler in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Columbia Pictures

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According to one unnamed studio head quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, Megalopolis has no place in theaters today due to the fact “It’s so not good, and it was so sad watching it … This is not how Coppola should end his directing career.”

THR reported that Coppola wants $100 million for marketing when the movie already cost him $120M of mostly his own money. This price tag has scared away Universal, Disney, and even Netflix while also pricing indie outfits A24 and Neon out of the discussion.

Keanu van Helsong
Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Columbia Pictures

“I find it hard to believe any distributor would put up cash money and stay in first position to recoup the P&A [print and advertising] as well as their distribution fee,” went one person described as “a distribution veteran.” “If [Coppola] is willing to put up the P&A or backstop the spend, I think there would be a lot more interested parties.” 

Went another insider who saw the movie, “There is just no way to position this movie.” And yet another added a further sobering perspective: “Everyone is rooting for Francis and feels nostalgic… But then there is the business side of things.”

Apocalypse Sheen
Martin Sheen is on the lookout in Apocalypse Now (1979), Paramount Pictures

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The specifics of Megalopolis aren’t entirely publicized but the plot has a reported Rome allegory where two men, an architect named Caesar (Adam Driver) and a politician named Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), compete to rebuild a fallen city in their respective image.

Coppola described it this way (via MovieWeb): “It’s a love story. A woman is divided between loyalties to two men. But not only two men. Each man comes with a philosophical principle. One is her father who raised her, who taught her Latin on his lap and is devoted to a much more classical view of society, the Marcus Aurelius kind of view.”

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) confronts Rey Palpatine (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Lucasfilm Ltd.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) confronts Rey Palpatine (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Lucasfilm Ltd.

He added, “The other one, who is the lover, is the enemy of the father but is dedicated to a much more progressive ‘Let’s leap into the future, let’s leap over all of this garbage that has contaminated humanity for 10,000 years. Let’s find what we really are, which are an enlightened, friendly, joyous species.'”

NEXT: Director Francis Ford Coppola Responds To Question About Making Godfather Part IV

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