In the year 2000—a full 18-year-old adult ago—Sofia Coppola released The Virgin Suicides, her cinematic interpretation of the 1993 Jeffrey Eugenides novel. The film will be her first to be canonized in The Criterion Collection, where it’ll be re-released on April 24, with a 4K digital transfer “supervised by” cinematographer Ed Lachman, interviews with the cast and crew, and a behind-the-scenes doc filmed by Coppola’s mother—a bunch of cool shit.
While promoting the release, in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Coppola reflected on the film and revealed that parent company Paramount Classics was afraid it would have a dangerous effect on the young audience it spoke to (and continues to speak to) through the ages. Coppola told EW:
“It didn’t have much of a release. Paramount Classics didn’t really know what to do with it… They were afraid that girls were going to commit suicide if they saw it! It had a really small release… we made it for very little, so they didn’t have to do much to make it.
It made me happy when, about 10 years ago, people started telling me that their teenage daughters loved the movie. I was like, they weren’t even born then! How do they even know about it? I’m happy that it has had a second life, and it makes me glad that girls of other generations connect to it and find something in it… It didn’t have much of a life at the time it came out.”
While the film has since become a cult classic (if you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?), it’s interesting to think about a movie like The Virgin Suicides in terms of initial perception and reception. As IndieWire points out, the movie flopped at the box office in 2000, taking in under $5 million in the US, opposite a $9 million budget, but that very well could be because of the aforementioned limited release.