Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ Nears French Distribution Deal With Indie Banner Le Pacte

In the run-up to its world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Francis Ford Coppola’s 135-minute epic “Megalopolis” is on track to sell to a French distributor, Le Pacte.

The indie company, presided over by veteran French distributor Jean Labadie, is currently negotiating a deal. It seems like an odd match for such a pricey movie considering Le Pacte’s fairly modest size. Although the company has had recent hits, including Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” and Maiwenn’s “Jeanne du Barry,” it may not be able to splurge on P&A. Coppola’s lawyer Barry Hirsch, who also served as a producer, has been courting studios and streamers to secure a splashy deal with a P&A commitment amounting to more than half of the film’s $120 million budget, according to industry insiders. The pending deal with Le Pacte suggests that the film, which Coppola self-financed, might not get picked up by a studio for a worldwide pact. Beyond the P&A commitment, another demand that has turned off prospective buyers is the fact that producers, including Coppola, are seeking half of the movie’s revenues, even for France.

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As Variety reported, getting a French distributor on board ahead of Cannes is a crucial step since the film is premiering in competition. Even if the film ends up selling to a streamer, it will need a theatrical release in France as per Cannes’ rule which requires every film in competition to have local theatrical distribution. That strict guideline was first established by the board of the Cannes Film Festival in the wake of a widespread scandal that stemmed from the programming of two Netflix films, Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories,” in competition in 2017. Since then, Netflix has not returned to Cannes and has been presenting its films at the Venice Film Festival. Given that “Megalopolis” is about to sell to Le Pacte, it’s safe to assume Netflix isn’t in the running to buy the film. The streamer never releases its movies in French theaters due to the local windowing rules that require the service to wait 15 months after a theatrical rollout to make a film available to its subscribers. Amazon or Apple, which premiered Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” at Cannes and had Paramount release it in theaters, could still be in the running.

Coppola is one of the several iconic filmmakers set to attend the Cannes Film Festival, alongside George Miller with “Furiosa” starring Anya Taylor-Joy, as well as George Lucas who will be feted with an honorary Palme d’Or.

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