Sofia Coppola Admits ‘Marie Antoinette’ Was a ‘Flop’ That ‘Nobody Saw,’ but She’s Happy ‘It’s Lived On’

“Marie Antoinette” writer-director Sofia Coppola reflected on the legacy of the 2006 film starring Kirsten Dunst as the ill-fated French queen. “Marie Antoinette” received a mixed reaction at Cannes upon its world premiere but has since become one of the most beloved movies out of Coppola’s filmography.

“I’m always happy that I get to make what I want to make. I was happy we got to make that movie, but nobody saw it,” Coppola told Vanity Fair while promoting her upcoming photography book, “Sofia Coppola Archive: 1999–2023,” published by MACK.

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“Marie Antoinette” grossed $60 million globally upon release in fall 2006 against a reported production budget of $40 million. The Sony release won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 2007 and has gone on to become a cult classic.

The director continued, “It was a flop. So the fact that it’s lived on and people talk about it has been really satisfying because so much work went into it. It makes me happy that now it’s kind of found its way and people enjoy it.”

Coppola revealed that she hesitated to take on her next film, upcoming Priscilla Presley memoir adaptation “Priscilla” from A24 and world-premiering in Venice, because it seemed “too similar” to the “Marie Antoinette” story.

At the time of the “Marie Antoinette” release, Coppola clarified that it was not a “historic epic” but rather a coming-of-age story.

“My biggest fear was making a ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ kind of movie,” Coppola said in 2006. “I didn’t want to make a dry, historical period movie with the distant cold tableau of shots. I wanted to make an impressionistic portrayal of these figures…In the same way I wanted ‘Lost in Translation‘ to feel like you had just spent a couple of hours in Tokyo, I wanted this film to let the audience feel what it might be like to be in Versailles during that time and to really get lost in that world.”

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