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Megalopolis (film)

Megalopolis (film)

Megalopolis is a 2024 American epic science fiction drama film written, directed, and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. It features an ensemble cast, including Adam Driver, Giancarlo Esposito, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Kathryn Hunter, Grace VanderWaal, Chloe Fineman, James Remar, D. B. Sweeney, and Dustin Hoffman. Set in an imagined modern America, it follows Cesar Catilina (Driver), a visionary architect, as he clashes with the corrupt Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Esposito) in determining how to rebuild the metropolis of New Rome after a devastating disaster. The film references the characters involved in the Catilinarian conspiracy of 63 BC, including Catiline and Cicero, in addition to Caesar.

The film was a longtime passion project for Coppola, who wanted to make a film drawing parallels between the fall of Rome and the future of the United States by setting the events of the Catilinarian conspiracy in modern New York. He conceived the idea for the film in 1977, being inspired by the historian Sallust, and actively started developing it by assembling notes for a future script in 1983. Preparations for a film based around his initial concept came together in 1989 to be shot in Rome, but was postponed after Coppola prioritized other projects to pay his debt to Hollywood after a string of box-office disappointments. Coppola revived the project in 2001, holding table reads with prominent actors in New York. After 9/11, an event that resembled its plot and themes, the film was again abandoned. Having become disheartened working for the studio system, Coppola soon after declared his intentions to self-finance the project if it ever came to fruition.

Coppola announced his return to the film in 2019. The success of his enterprises led him to sell a portion of his winery in California to spend $120 million of his own money to fund it. After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, casting was underway by 2021. The film reunited Coppola with past collaborators, including actors Esposito, Fishburne, Remar, Shire, and Sweeney, cinematographer Mihai Mălaimare Jr., and composer Osvaldo Golijov. Filming took place from November 2022 to March 2023, with the state of Georgia standing in for New York. Coppola adopted an experimental style during the shoot that permitted improvisation by letting actors write scenes and himself make spontaneous changes to the script. These methods proved divisive and led to the resignation of the art department and visual effects team, among others, raising comparisons to Coppola's history of challenging productions. Filming allegedly wrapped a week ahead of schedule.

Megalopolis was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered on May 16, 2024, and polarized critics. The film is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States by Lionsgate Films on September 27, 2024.

An accident destroys a decaying metropolis called New Rome. Cesar Catilina, an idealist architect with the power to control time, aims to rebuild it as a sustainable utopia, while his opposition, corrupt Mayor Franklyn Cicero, remains committed to a regressive status quo. Torn between them is Franklyn's socialite daughter and Cesar's love interest, Julia, who, tired of the influence she inherited, searches for her life's meaning.: 6 

Growing up in New York, Francis Ford Coppola was fascinated by science fiction films such as Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and William Cameron Menzies's Things to Come (1936) and the scientific community's history with dangerous experiments. His reading of the Roman historian Sallust and William Bolitho Ryall's book Twelve Against the Gods (1929) inspired him to make a film about Lucius Sergius Catiline, who sought consulship by campaigning to eliminate debt for the poor and wealthy, but lost to Marcus Tullius Cicero, who famously denounced Catilina before the Senate for conspiring to overthrow the Roman Republic in 63 BC.: 7  Coppola conceived the overall idea for Megalopolis towards the end of filming Apocalypse Now (1979) in 1977.: 50  Sound designer Richard Beggs described Coppola's vision as an opera screened over four nights, similar to Richard Wagner's Ring cycle (1876) in Bayreuth, in a "gigantic outdoor purpose-built theatre" in "some place as close as possible to the geographical center of the United States", for example the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the state of Colorado.: 181 

Coppola devoted the beginning of 1983 to developing the film, assembling four hundred pages of notes and script fragments in two months.: 333  Over the next four decades, he collected clippings and notes for a scrapbook detailing intriguing subjects he envisioned incorporating into a future screenplay, like political cartoons and different historical subjects, before deciding to make a Roman epic film set in an imagined modern America.: 6  In mid-1983, he described the plot as taking place in one day in New York City with Catiline Rome as a backdrop, similar to how James Joyce's modernist novel Ulysses (1922) used Homer in the context of modern Dublin and how he had updated the setting of Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness (1899) from the late 1800s amid the European colonial rule in Africa to the 1970s Vietnam War for Apocalypse Now.: 74 : 215 

In January 1989, Coppola announced his intentions to endeavor on Le Ribellion di Catilina, a film "so big and complicated it would seem impossible", which biographer Michael Schumacher said "sounded much like what he had in store for Megalopolis".: 409–410  It was to be shot in Cinecittà, a large film studio in Rome, Italy, where production designer Dean Tavoularis and his design team built offices and an art studio for drafters to storyboard the film.: 266 : 234  The Hollywood Reporter described it as "swing[ing] from the past to the present", merging "the images of Rome ... with the New York of today".: 410  Following the 1990–91 film awards season for The Godfather Part III (1990), Coppola's production company, American Zoetrope, announced several projects in development, including plans to film Megalopolis in 1991, despite lacking a finished script.: 436  However, the film was postponed to "no earlier than 1996" after Coppola found himself prioritizing other projects, including Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Jack (1996), and The Rainmaker (1997), to get out of debt accumulated from One from the Heart (1982) and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) and fund Megalopolis.: 444 : 110 

"Do films the same way Ingmar Bergman did them, with a little group of collaborators that you know, making a script that you wrote. Otherwise, you will finally get beaten down by the fact that you are making things that you are not really interested in, from a script that you don't fully understand, by means that you don't approve of. The question is: Can you make bigger films, like Megalopolis or Cure, in that way? Certainly, the determining factor is the cast, because with a star cast comes the financing ..."

In 2001, Coppola held table reads in a production office in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with actors including Nicolas Cage (Coppola's nephew), Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Jon Hamm, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, and Uma Thurman. Other actors considered included Matt Dillon, approached during the filming of Rumble Fish (1983) for the role of a cadet who goes AWOL, and Parker Posey, though Coppola dispelled rumors he had written a part specifically for Warren Beatty.: 262  Jim Steranko, who previously created production illustrations for Bram Stoker's Dracula, produced concept art for Megalopolis at Coppola's behest, described in James Romberger's master's thesis as "expansive, elaborate and carefully rendered pencil or charcoal halftone architectural drawings of huge buildings and urban plazas that appeared to mix ancient Roman, art deco and speculative sci-fi stylizations".: 54  Proposed filming locations included the cities of Montreal and New York, with an anticipated budget of $50–80 million (equivalent to $86,000,000 to $138,000,000 in 2023).: 263 

That year, Coppola and cinematographer Ron Fricke recorded second unit footage of New York, thinking it would be simpler to do so before principal photography, with the 24-frames per second Sony F900 digital camera that George Lucas used for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).: 8–9, 15  After the September 11 attacks, during which Coppola and his team were location scouting in New York, the roughly thirty hours of footage was stashed, including more material they shot two weeks after, due to its resemblance to the script, which involved a Soviet satellite crashing into Earth.: 54 : 263  "I feel as though history has come to my doorstep", Coppola said in October, declaring his plans to rewrite the film. In 2002, he shot sixty to seventy hours of second unit footage in Manhattan on high-definition video that Lucas described as "wide shots of cities with incredible detail at magic hour and all kinds of available-light material".: 263 : 82  He also disclosed his intent to self-finance the film, still in place as his next project, having become disheartened making films to pay off his debt to Hollywood.

Production on the film eventually halted. The success of his winery and resorts meant Coppola could produce it with his own money, which his friend Wendy Doniger said "paralyzed him", adding that, "He had no excuse this time if the film was no good. What froze him was having the power to do exactly what he wanted so that his soul was on the line". In 2005, she gave him books that she deemed thematically relevant, including Mircea Eliade's Youth Without Youth (1976), a novella about a 70-year-old man struggling to complete an ambitious project. Coppola then shelved Megalopolis to self-finance a small-scale adaptation of the book, intended to be "the opposite of Megalopolis".: 85  In 2007, Coppola admitted that 9/11 "made it really pretty tough ... a movie about the aspiration of utopia with New York as a main character and then all of a sudden you couldn't write about New York without just dealing with what happened and the implications of what happened. The world was attacked and I didn't know how to try to do with that [sic]. I tried". In 2009, in regards to the likelihood of revisiting the film, he said, "Someday, I'll read what I had on Megalopolis and maybe I'll think different of it, but it's also a movie that costs a lot of money to make and there's not a patron out there. You see what the studios are making right now."

On April 3, 2019, the day before his 80th birthday, Coppola announced his return to the project, having completed the script and approached Jude Law and Shia LaBeouf for lead roles. In 2021, Coppola sold his Sonoma County wineries in a deal valued between $500 million and $1 billion to reportedly spend $120 million of his own money to produce the film. By August, discussions with actors to star in the film had begun; James Caan was set to star after petitioning Coppola to write him a cameo role as a potential swan song, while Cate Blanchett, Oscar Isaac, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jon Voight, Forest Whitaker, and Zendaya were in various stages of negotiations.: 3 

In late 2021, Nathalie Emmanuel auditioned over Zoom while filming The Invitation (2022) in Budapest. During the session, Coppola had her participate in an acting exercise, tasking her with reciting a line from Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple (1982) in as many different contexts.: 3  Plaza similarly auditioned over Zoom sometime in 2022 during the production of the second season of The White Lotus while staying at the San Domenico, the same hotel in Italy that Coppola resided in during the filming of The Godfather (1972). Before the meeting, Coppola had emailed her the entire script and asked her to consider the role of "Wow Platinum", wanting an actress with a similar screen presence to Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy in screwball comedies from the 1930s.: 3 

By March 2022, Talia Shire (Coppola's sister) expressed her interest in joining the cast and Isaac was reported to have passed on the project. By May, Emmanuel, Voight, and Whitaker were confirmed for the cast, with Adam Driver and Laurence Fishburne added. After Caan died on July 6, 2022, his role was given to Dustin Hoffman.: 3  Driver originally demurred from accepting the lead role but reconsidered after Coppola incorporated ideas they developed together.: 3 

In August 2022, Kathryn Hunter, Aubrey Plaza, James Remar, Jason Schwartzman (Coppola's nephew and Shire's son), and Grace VanderWaal joined the cast, with LaBeouf and Shire confirmed as part of it. Chloe Fineman, Madeleine Gardella, Hoffman, Bailey Ives, Isabelle Kusman, and D. B. Sweeney would be added in October. Coppola had reached out to Fineman, a cast member on Saturday Night Live, in 2020 after seeing her perform at a theater comedy event where she impersonated Ivana and Melania Trump. In January 2023, Giancarlo Esposito was confirmed to star. VanderWaal, whom Coppola met through her father, wrote original songs for the film. Esposito, Fishburne, Remar, Shire, and Sweeney previously worked with Coppola.: 2 

Books that the film was influenced by included Bullshit Jobs (2018), The Dawn of Everything (2021), and Debt: The First 5000 Years (2011) by David Graeber; The Chalice and the Blade (1987) by Riane Eisler; The Glass Bead Game (1943) by Hermann Hesse; The Origins of Political Order (2011) by Francis Fukuyama; The Swerve (2011) by Stephen Greenblatt; and The War Lovers (2010) by Evan Thomas. The character of Cesar was based on Catiline and renamed at classicist Mary Beard's suggestion that Julius Caesar had ties with Catiline and was far more known among audiences. Coppola said the character was inspired by Robert Moses as portrayed in Robert Caro's biography The Power Broker (1974) and architects like Norman Bel Geddes, Walter Gropius, Raymond Loewy, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Coppola also researched the Claus von Bülow murder case, the Mary Cunningham-William Agee Bendix Corporation scandal, the emergence of New York Stock Exchange reporter Maria Bartiromo, the history of Studio 54, and Felix Rohatyn's solution for the New York City fiscal crisis of 1975. The fictional building material of Megalon was based in part on the work of architect and designer Neri Oxman, who appears in the film as "Dr. Lyra Shir".: 10, 35  In line with The Godfather and Bram Stoker's Dracula, where he credited Mario Puzo and Bram Stoker as the original writers, Coppola branded the film with his name as Francis Ford Coppola's Megalopolis.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of production. Before filming began, a week of rehearsals took place with theater-style exercises, much like the one Emmanuel described having in her audition. Plaza described Coppola's workshop-style approach as allowing actors to improvise and provide feedback to the script, adding, "We wrote scenes and we conducted ourselves like a theater troupe, me and Jon Voight and Shia [LaBeouf]. We were writing scenes and giving them to the script supervisor. And then she would give them to Francis and sometimes he would like it and put it in. But every day he wanted to play. He ran it like it was a theater camp. There were games all day, and we were in character the whole time."

Principal photography began on November 7, 2022, in Fayetteville, Georgia, at Trilith Studios and concluded on March 11, 2023. Filming also took place in Atlanta.: 3  It was to be the first film shot on Trilith Studios' Prysm Stage, an LED virtual production volume, but due to budget constraints, the production pivoted to a "less costly, more traditional greenscreen approach". The decision to film in Georgia over the film's setting of New York was due to available tax benefits, studio facilities, local crews, and classical buildings to act as sets.: 3 

For the production, Coppola purchased a closed drive-in Days Inn motel for $4.35 million to reside in and accommodate the crew and his extended family. He renovated the motel to include facilities for rehearsal and post-production.: 3  The building in Peachtree City, Georgia, was later opened to the public by Coppola on July 5, 2024, as the All-Movie Hotel. It offers hospitality and facilities needed to make films, including 27 rooms, two edit suites with laser projection and Meyer Sound 2.1 monitoring, two edit bays, offices, an ADR recording room, a conference room, an insert stage, a convivial space, and a screening room for private viewings, editing, or 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos sound mixing with calibrated Meyer sound monitoring, plus a swimming pool, wardrobe fitting room, and gym. Memorabilia from Coppola's previous films is displayed throughout the hotel.

Mihai Mălaimare Jr. served as cinematographer. He previously shot Coppola's Youth Without Youth (2007), Tetro (2009), and Twixt (2011). The crew utilized two Arri Alexa 65s and one Alexa LF for the first unit and an Alexa Mini LF for the second unit. Panavision provided the lenses, which included a combination of wide Sphero 65s, Panaspeeds, and specialty lenses such as the 200mm and 250mm detuned Primo Artiste, rehoused Helios, and Lensbaby for specific scenes.: 16  In reference to ancient Rome, some male actors donned Caesar cuts. For Plaza, the last two weeks of the shoot overlapped with her role on the television series Agatha All Along (2024). The two projects were shot on the same lot, so she was allowed to do both. In August 2023, during the SAG-AFTRA strike, the film received an interim agreement from the union, possibly for reshoots or for publicity purposes to qualify for festival screenings and distribution deals.

Plaza spoke positively about Coppola's willingness to experiment and how sometimes "all of a sudden, he would have another idea. And then all of a sudden, we're shooting in a different location we didn't even plan to shoot. And then the whole day goes by and you're like, 'I had no idea any of that was going to happen'". Others described that approach as "exasperating", as Coppola was hesitant to decide how the film's world should look. One crew member recalled, "He would often show up in the mornings before these big sequences and because no plan had been put in place, and because he wouldn't allow his collaborators to put a plan in place, he would often just sit in his trailer for hours on end, wouldn't talk to anybody, was often smoking marijuana ... And then he'd come out and whip up something that didn't make sense, and that didn't follow anything anybody had spoken about or anything that was on the page, and we'd all just go along with it, trying to make the best out of it."

On December 9, 2022, Coppola fired most of the visual effects team, with the rest of the department, including supervisor Mark Russell, soon following. In January 2023, reports indicated the budget ballooned higher than its initial $120 million, which The Hollywood Reporter compared to Coppola's history of challenging productions, most notoriously Apocalypse Now. Due to an alleged "unstable filming environment", a claim that Coppola and Driver contested, several crew members exited the film, including production designer Beth Mickle and art director David Scott, along with the art department.

Coppola explained that he wanted Megalopolis to have a unique visual style similar to a woven mural or tapestry. Working with concept artist Dean Sherriff to translate his vision through keyframe concept art, he permitted minimal input from the art department, whose practices he found conventional, expensive, and hierarchical, as they had recently completed a Marvel production. Coppola had originally set $100 million for the budget and $20 million as contingency. As the budget was at risk of rising to $148 million, he decided to scale down the production by proposing to let one of the five art directors go, which led the entire team to threaten to resign. He went through with the plan, resulting in the public resignation of the art department. Production allegedly wrapped a week ahead of schedule, with the budget close to the planned $120 million. On firing Russell and replacing him with his nephew Jesse James Chisholm, Coppola said they disagreed over his demand for "live special effects", which he completed with his son and second unit director Roman Coppola as they had with Bram Stoker's Dracula.: 8–9, 15 

Along with difficulties with Coppola's "old-school" approach to filmmaking, spending days completing shots practically, crew members, who remained anonymous, described him as "unpleasant", alleging that he pulled women to sit on his lap and tried to kiss female extras to "get them in the mood". In response, executive co-producer Darren Demetre said, "There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere ... I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project." When asked about the accusations by The New York Times, Coppola said, "My mother [Italia Coppola] told me that if you make an advance toward a woman, it means you disrespect her, and the girls I had crushes on, I certainly didn't disrespect them." He additionally went on to say that a photo exists of one of the "girls" he kissed on the cheek that her father had taken, adding, "I knew her when she was nine. I'm not touchy-feely. I'm too shy."

In March 2003, Coppola handwrote a letter to Osvaldo Golijov, asking him to compose a symphony that would have dictated the film's rhythm.: 20  They would go on to collaborate on Youth Without Youth, Tetro, and Twixt before returning to complete Megalopolis. Golijov wanted the score to blur the line between music and sound design. Given the ambiguity surrounding how the city and music of Rome sounded, he relied on Hollywood portrayals and composed a Roman suite inspired by Miklós Rózsa's score for Ben-Hur (1959). Coppola also asked Golijov to write a love theme in the vein of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's composition Romeo and Juliet (1870).: 20–21  In February 2024, Coppola recorded the score with the Budapest Art Orchestra in Budapest, Hungary.

Cam McLauchlin and Glen Scantlebury edited the film. Coppola had contacted McLauchlin after seeing his work on Nightmare Alley (2021). McLauchlin defined Coppola's style as theatrical, incorporating theater warm-up techniques. The scene where Cesar and Julia play tug of war on an imaginary rope was a rehearsal take that inspired them to embrace the script's eccentricity. McLauchlin and Scantlebury were tasked to work on scenes independently but transitioned toward collaboration after realizing they had enough time to keep pace with shooting and experiment with alternate versions. For a scene involving catwalks, Coppola handled disruptive noise levels by pre-recording the dialogue and playing it over a loudspeaker for wide shots. He then asked Driver to recite William Shakespeare's Hamlet, seemingly as a warm-up exercise. After filming wrapped, Coppola handed McLauchlin the first half of the film and Scantlebury the latter half, allowing them to trade sections to complete the edit. After Scantlebury moved on to another project, McLauchlin and Coppola continued editing for eight more months, during which Coppola suggested including the Shakespeare scene.: 18–20 

In 1999, Coppola described the film as setting the characters of the Catilinarian conspiracy in modern New York, saying, "In many ways what it's really about is a metaphor—because if you walk around New York and look around, you could make Rome there", and adding, "Ultimately what's at stake is the future, because it takes the premise that the future, the shape of things to come, is being determined today, by the interests that are vying for control ... we already know what happened to Rome. Rome became a fascist Empire. Is that what we're going to become?" In 2022, he said the film had an optimistic look at humanity and the intuitive goodness in people even in a divided climate. In 2024, Coppola said he "wondered whether the traditional portrayal of Catiline as 'evil' and Cicero as 'good' was necessarily true" and described the film as a commentary for the United States, under the belief that the country's founders borrowed from Roman law to develop their democratic government without a king.

Image Comics and Syzygy Publishing will distribute a graphic novel tie-in to the film written by Chris Ryall and with artwork by Jacob Phillips. Ryall had direct input and liberty from Coppola while Phillips confirmed that he was "drawing this book (on and off) since December 2022" and wrapped his part of the 148-page comic adaptation in July 2024; the screenplay and concept art was used as foundations for the graphic novel. The late author Colleen McCullough, whose book series Masters of Rome (1990–2007) partially inspired Megalopolis, wrote the novelization of the film. The novels will accompany the film's release, along with a behind-the-scenes fly-on-the-wall documentary by Mike Figgis that features interviews with cast members, Spike Lee, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Coppola's late wife Eleanor Coppola, who died in April 2024. Coppola clarified that "all three projects are independent" of him but based on his "many scripts and ideas over the decades".

Coppola saw Megalopolis in full for the first time on an IMAX screen at the IMAX Corporation's headquarters in Playa Vista, Los Angeles; the film used camera technology for certain sequences that could cover an entire IMAX screen. On March 28, 2024, a private screening of the film was presented to distributors at the Universal CityWalk IMAX Theater in Hollywood. Before the event, Coppola and his longtime attorney Barry Hirsch, a producer on the film, released a statement that they would not decide where to debut the film until they secured a distribution partner and a firm rollout plan. However, the "muted" response to the screening made securing a distributor difficult. Studios weighed the return on investment, as Coppola expected a print-and-advertising (P&A) campaign of $80–100 million and for producers to receive half of the film's revenues. A distribution veteran suggested that "If [Coppola] is willing to put up the P&A or backstop the spend, I think there would be a lot more interested parties." Coppola's plan to forgo working with a sales agent was, thus, altered, with the company Goodfellas handling international sales; Le Pacte, for France, became the first to acquire distribution rights to a foreign market in late April, though notably without rights to paid video on demand or streaming options.

On May 16, 2024, the 138-minute film premiered in competition at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. During the film's Cannes press conference, Coppola criticized the studio system and likened a streaming option to a home video release, saying, "I fear that the film industry has become more a matter of people being hired to ... pay their debt obligations ... So it might be that the studios we knew for so long are not [going] to be here in the future anymore." That same day, the film secured a limited global IMAX release, including in at least 20 US cities regardless of distributor.

In June 2024, one month after the film's festival premiere, Lionsgate Films acquired distribution rights in the United States and Canada, scheduling a release for September 27, 2024. The deal came after Coppola agreed to pay for marketing costs. Lionsgate is expected to play the film in more than 1,500 theaters, requiring a marketing budget of at least $15–20 million. For its premium large format screenings, it will share IMAX screens with The Wild Robot and the re-release of Interstellar before giving them up a week later to Joker: Folie à Deux.

Both the private industry screening and the Cannes premiere had a moment when a person walked on stage in front of the projection screen and addressed the protagonist, Cesar, who seemingly breaks the fourth wall by replying in real time. Jean Labadie, founder of the film's French distributor, Le Pacte, said in regards to replicating the moment, "We will work on that with every exhibitor in France to try to do it as many times as we can." Lionsgate said they would also try to recreate the fourth wall break.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 53% of 66 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.7/10. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 59 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.

The early industry screening resulted in reactions considered divisive while some were mixed, though others were primarily of general bewilderment. Many attendees praised LaBeouf's performance. Deadline Hollywood's Mike Fleming Jr. praised the film's runtime and ambition, calling it "an epic and highly visual fable that plays perfectly on an IMAX screen". Fellow director Gregory Nava said, "It is an unbelievable, astonishing film, and [Coppola] is pushing the boundaries of cinema ... [Coppola] has used visual effects, and things that before have simply been limited to superhero movies, in a way to evoke other kinds of emotions." The film was further described as reminiscent of the literary works of Ayn Rand, particularly The Fountainhead (1943), and the films Metropolis (1927) and Caligula (1979). Many journalists expressed fascination and concern regarding its success, labeling it a potential critical and box-office failure, while others debated whether it could be Coppola's masterpiece. Others criticized studio heads and executives who anonymously yet publicly lambasted the film. Coppola optimistically compared the polarizing responses to the initial reactions to Apocalypse Now four decades prior, and insinuated that the "unnamed sources...  probably weren't at the screening and may not exist."

The film received a similarly polarized response from critics at the Cannes Film Festival. Variety's Matt Donnelly and Ellise Shafer summarized, "Though reactions have been mixed, the film was undoubtedly jam-packed with scenes that ranged from visionary to just plain puzzling."

  • Megalopolis at IMDb 

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Megalopolis (film) by Wikipedia (Historical)