With a new Criterion edition of “The Virgin Suicides” set for release on Tuesday, Sofia Coppola has been discussing her 1999 directorial debut, and during an interview with Entertainment Weekly revealed that the film’s controversial subject matter — and its provocative title — proved worrisome to the film’s studio, Paramount Classics, due to fears it would result in a rash of copycat suicides among teenage girls.
“It didn’t have much of a release. Paramount Classics didn’t really know what to do with it,” Coppola, 46, told EW of the film, which starred Kirsten Dunst as one of a group of girls who enter into a deadly suicide pact.
“They were afraid that girls were going to commit suicide if they saw it!” said Coppola. “It had a really small release… we made it for very little, so they didn’t have to do much to make it.”
Happily, the studio’s fears never materialized; in fact, the film wound up becoming a cult favourite that continues to resonate with new generations of teenage girls.
“It made me happy when, about 10 years ago, people started telling me that their teenage daughters loved the movie,” noted Coppola. “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.”
You can find out more about The Criterion Collection rerelease of “The Virgin Suicides” right here.