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Godfather director thought studio messed up his daughter’s movie

Francis Ford Coppola had some strongly-worded opinions on the proposed September release date for his daughter Sofia Coppola's movie Lost in Translation.

Lost in Translation

The Coppolas are one of the most famous filmmaking families of all time, being a dynasty that includes Francis Ford Coppola, Talia Shire, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman….and Nicolas Cage. Coppola’s daughter Sofia now has a filmography to rival her father’s, with many acclaimed drama movies to her name, such as The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and The Beguiled.

It turns out that Francis Ford Coppola was not happy with the way the studio handled Sofia Coppola’s sophomore movie Lost in Translation (2003), and he had a specific beef with the release date. This was revealed in the book You’ve Got Red on You by Clark Collis, which is focused on the making of horror comedy movie Shaun of the Dead.

“September was traditionally regarded as a distribution dead zone between the summer blockbuster [action movie] period and the start of awards season [when drama movies tend to be released]. As a result, studios often used the month to dump movies with few commercial prospects. Over time, however, [Focus Features president of distribution Jack] Foley had come to the conclusion that studios were missing a trick.”

“According to [Focus Features co-founder David] Linde, ‘Jack came to us and said, ‘Everybody is ignoring September, it’s actually a really interesting way to get audiences to pay attention to your movie.’ Focus had tested Foley’s theory the year before [2003] by releasing Lost in Translation on 12 September. The decision to premiere the Bill Murray comedy-drama in cinemas on that date had raised eyebrows, including those belonging to director Sofia Coppola’s father.”

“‘I was getting calls from people like Francis Ford Coppola,’ says [Focus Features co-founder James] Schamus. ‘They were like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?!’ The mid-budget film grossed a healthy $44 million domestically and another $74 million around the world. After that, says Schamus, ‘we freakin’ loved September.'”

Lost in Translation was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and Sofia Coppola was nominated for Best Director. She won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, so it turns out that September release date wasn’t the kiss of death after all.

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