Lionsgate has struck a deal to distribute Francis Ford Coppola’s polarising Megalopolis in North America following its recent Cannes world premiere.

The epic sci-fi starring Adam Driver as a visionary architect will open in the US and Canada including Imax on September 27.

The deal with Lionsgate appears to be purely a distribution play and not an acquisition. Recouping would be a tall order for distributors given that Coppola, who envisioned the film decades ago, sold part of his vineyard to fund the $120m production. 

Megalopolis received a chilly reception from US buyers when it screened in March in Los Angeles prior to its Croisette bow, and divided critics in Cannes where it played in Competition and was one of the lower-scoring films on Screen’s jury grid.

However the sense during the festival was the film would eventually find a US buyer and several were understood to be in pursuit despite the caution that permeates a highly challenging distribution landscape.

Screen understands Adam Fogelson, chair of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, and his team are keen to work with Coppola to fulfil his artistic vision. Yet it remains to be seen how the studio – and international distributors, for that matter – will handle the so-called “live scene” in which an actor walked on stage in Cannes and engaged with Driver’s character on screen.

Jean Labadie of Le Pacte previously told Deadline he would attempt to honour the scene and work with exhibitors in France to replicate it as often as possible. Lionsgate had not returned calls at time of writing.

The agreement extends Lionsgate’s longstanding partnership with Coppola and his American Zoetrope. Lionsgate Studios previously distributed many of his films on home entertainment including Apocalypse Now Final CutThe ConversationThe Cotton Club EncoreTucker: The Man And His Dream, and One From The Heart: Reprise

Lionsgate Studios will also handle the distribution of Megalopolis across all home entertainment platforms.

As Screen was the first to report, Goodfellas handled international sales. Deals previously closed in the UK (Entertainment Film Distributors Limited), France (Le Pacte), Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (Constantin Film), Italy (Eagle Pictures), Spain (Tripictures), Australia (Madman Entertainment), and Benelux (September Films).

Megalopolis has also sold to Bulgaria (Profilm), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Film Europe), former Yugoslavia (MCF Megacom Film), Greece (Feelgood Entertainment), Hungary (Mozinet), Israel (Lev Cinemas), Morocco (Facility Event), Portugal (Midas Filmes), Romania (Independenta Film), Scandinavia (Njutafilms), and Turkey (Bir Film).  

Recently added territories include Middle East (Cinewaves), Poland (Gutek), Ukraine and Baltics (Ad Astra), Tunisia (Retinia), Indonesia (Prima Cinema), and the Philippines (Pioneer). Goodfellas is in advanced negotiations for Latin America and Brazil, and in negotiations with the rest of Asia. 

Giancarlo Esposito, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza also star in what is described as a Roman Epic fable set in an imagined Modern America, where Driver’s architect Cesar vies for the future of the city of New Rome with the mayor, who wants to maintain a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare.

Fred Roos, Coppola’s longtime lawyer Barry Hirsch, and Michael Bederman produced, and executive producers are Anahid Nazarian, Barrie Osborne, and Darren Demetre.

Fogelson said, “Francis is a legend. For many of us, his gifts to cinema were one of the inspirations to devote our own careers to film. It is a true privilege to work with him, and to bring this incredible, audacious, and utterly unique movie to theatrical audiences.”

Coppola added, “One rule of business I’ve always followed and prioritized (to my benefit) is to continue working with companies and teams who over time have proven to be good friends as well as great collaborators. This is why I am thrilled to have Adam Fogelson and Lionsgate Studios release Megalopolis. I am confident they will apply the same tender love and care given to Apocalypse Now, which is currently in its 45th year of astounding revenue and appreciation.”

Hirsch of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman, oversaw the deal on behalf of American Zoetrope. Lauren Bixby and Christopher Davis oversaw the deal for Lionsgate.