Last week, the fan-anticipated film “The King’s Daughter” made its debut in theaters across the United States and Canada, after sitting idle for nearly 7 years.
Set in the 17th century French court, the film focuses on King Louis XIV (Brosnan), whose mission for immortality leads him to capture a mermaid’s (Fan) life force, seeing his immovable will challenged when his long-hidden illegitimate daughter (Scodelario) forms a bond with the magical creature.
Filmed in Australia and France in 2014, “The King’s Daughter” initially was planned for a 2015 release, but was suddenly “shelved” by Paramount with little to no explanation. However, rumors circulated throughout the industry that perhaps the film still needed additional special effects work – but that was never officially confirmed.
Thankfully, the film was revived in 2020, purchased by Gravitas Ventures for what is now the 2022 release with a brand new title and Oscar winner Julie Andrews serving as the film’s narrator. Directed by Sean McNamara (Raise Your Voice, Soul Surfer), the film stars Pierce Brosnan and Kaya Scodelario, William Hurt, Bingbing Fan.
Shot at the Palace of Versailles, McNamara’s film is based on Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1997 novel The Moon and the Sun, which famously beat George RR Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” to the Nebula Award for Best Novel that same year.
Ironically, the film didn’t bring in as much as you would think (if you’re thinking of the amount of time it takes for a James Cameron film to come out), only pulling in $750,000. According to reports by IndieWire, Gravitas Ventures, the studio which purchased the film, released it on over 2,100 screens, with each theater making a little under $400 over its first weekend.
But that is only part of the film’s troubled past, with its Chinese star, Fay, having suddenly disappeared in July 2018 during an investigation into her tax affairs. The film’s original producer, Michael London acquired the film rights in 1999, only to struggle for additional financial backing for an anticipated $40 million – the film eventually received $20 million from Chinese film studio Kylin Pictures.