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Francis Ford Coppola’s epic gamble ‘Megalopolis’ lands distribution from Lionsgate

A man and woman stand on a rooftop.
Adam Driver and Nathalie Emmanuel in the movie “Megalopolis.”
(Caesar Film LLC)
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Lionsgate on Monday said it has picked up the rights to Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis” for the U.S. and Canada, ending months of speculation over which studio might distribute the famed director’s epic passion project. The film will hit domestic theaters, including Imax screens, on Sept. 27.

“Megalopolis” is the first new film from the five-time Oscar winner since 2011’s “罢飞颈虫迟” and Coppola is reported to have invested some $120 million of his own money, raised from the sale of part of his wine business, to pay for the ambitious tale.

With a cast that includes Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Giancarlo Esposito, Nathalie Emmanuel, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Chloe Fineman, Jon Voight, Shia LaBeouf and Laurence Fishburne, the film is a sweeping fable surveying power struggles set against a fictionalized New York, refashioned to seem like New Rome.

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Director Francis Ford Coppola
Director Francis Ford Coppola gives a press conference for his film “Megalopolis” during the 77th Cannes Film Festival on May 17.
(Zoulerah Norddine / AFP via Getty Images)

When the film premiered last month at the Cannes film festival, The Times’ Joshua Rothkopf wrote that if “Megalopolis” becomes the last effort from the 85-year-old “Godfather” filmmaker, then “he’s going out not with something tame and manicured but with an overstuffed, vigorous, seething story about the roots of fascism that only an uncharitable viewer would call a catastrophe.”

“It may be the most radical film he’s ever done,” Rothkopf wrote.

Lionsgate has a long-standing relationship with Coppola and his American Zoetrope banner, having previously handled home entertainment releases of his “Apocalypse Now Final Cut,” “The Conversation,” “The Cotton Club Encore,” “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” and “One From the Heart: Reprise.”

While speaking at the film’s Cannes press conference, Coppola referred to the bold, stylistic leap of “Megalopolis” by saying, “I knew the film was not like other films that are out. It’s how I felt the film should be, and since I was paying for it I thought I was entitled [to do it my way].”

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