By: Megan Hastings
Released worldwide on Nov. 3, Priscilla, written, directed and produced by Sophia Copolla, is a biographical drama. Based on the 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me, authored by Priscilla Presley, who also serves as an executive producer on the project along with Sandra Harmon, the movie explores the life of Priscilla Presley, portrayed by Cailee Spaeny, and delves into her intricate relationship with the iconic Elvis Presley, played by Jacob Elordi.
On Sept. 12, 2022, Sofia Coppola announced that she was set to direct an adaptation of Priscilla Presley’s memoir. When asked about her decision to adapt the memoir for her next feature film, Coppola shared her inspiration, saying, “I’ve had her memoir for years and remember reading it a long time ago…I was genuinely captivated by Priscilla’s narrative and her unique perspective on the experience of growing up as a teenager in the extraordinary environment of Graceland. She navigated the stages of young womanhood in a profoundly amplified world, a situation somewhat reminiscent of Marie Antoinette.”
About her decision to choose Cailee Spaeny to play Priscilla, Coppola explained, “The character goes from the age of 15 to 27 over the course of the film, so she had to be able to act and age across a big span of time. It was really important for me to have the same actress playing Priscilla at those different stages of her life, and I think Cailee can pull it off. She’s such a strong actress, and she also looks very young.” Regarding Jacob Elordi’s casting as Elvis, Coppola stated, “I thought nobody was gonna look quite like Elvis, but Jacob has that same type of magnetism. He’s so charismatic, and girls go crazy around him, so I knew he could pull off playing this type of romantic icon.”
Priscilla premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 4, 2023. Following this noteworthy premiere, the film took center stage as the Centerpiece Selection at the 2023 New York Film Festival on Oct. 6. Additionally, Canadian audiences had the opportunity to experience the movie when it had its special presentation at the 42nd Vancouver International Film Festival on Oct. 7. In the United States, A24 is distributing Priscilla. Originally, the film was set to be distributed globally by Stage 6 Films and Sony Pictures Releasing International, with the exception of the United States and Italy. However, Sony withdrew from the project when Priscilla Presley’s estate decided to withhold music rights. Subsequently, Mubi stepped in and secured these rights, with their subsidiary, The Match Factory, taking charge of international sales. Mubi itself was responsible for distributing the film in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, the Benelux region, Turkey, and Latin America.
During its opening weekend, the film raked in 132,139 dollars, showcasing its strong performance across four theaters, with each venue averaging an impressive 33,034 dollars. As it expanded to 1,344 theaters in its second weekend, Priscilla continued its box office success, grossing 5.1 million dollars and securing the fourth position in the rankings. Priscilla already won three awards from three different film festivals, and is worth watching.
(Sources: Deadline, IndieWire,Variety)