The massive box office success of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” provided a much-needed shot of adrenaline to the film industry, proving that there is still a large audience for original theatrical films. Now, the question on everybody’s mind is whether the “Barbenheimer” cultural phenomenon was a fluke or a sign that Hollywood has found a new path towards sustained success.
Count Francis Ford Coppola among the optimists. The “Apocalypse Now” director took to his personal Instagram account over the weekend to answer questions from fans, and was quickly asked about the two films that are sweeping the nation. While he hasn’t seen either film yet, Coppola celebrated the fact that audiences are turning out for original films.
“I have yet to see them,” Coppola wrote. “But the fact that people are filling big theaters to see them and that they are neither sequels nor prequels, no number attached to them, meaning they are true one-offs, is a victory for cinema.”
In a separate question, Coppola was asked to share his thoughts about the future of cinema. He broke from the pessimism that has become commonplace in film industry circles and predicted that more theatrical success is on the horizon.
“My hunch is that we’re on the verge of a golden age,” he said. “Wonderful and illuminating cinema seen in large theaters.”
Coppola’s optimism about the film industry comes after he took one of the biggest risks of his career. The Oscar-winner recently wrapped principle photography on “Megalopolis,” his long-gestating futuristic epic starring Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Forest Whitaker, Jon Voight, and Shia LaBeouf. Coppola largely self-financed the passion project, which has a budget of over $100 million, after failing to obtain financing for decades. While the production initially faced rumors of on-set chaos, Driver recently praised the experience of working with Coppola.
“‘Megalopolis’ is one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever been a part of, with Francis in particular,” Driver said. “It’s one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had. And the things that he’s made, there’s no frame of reference for it. It’s so unique and inventive and hopefully accessible by everyone. That it’s not so elusive that it’s for a certain audience, it’s for everyone. And he is everything that you hope he will be.”