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Valerian’s financial failure is bad for the film industry

Deadline has a report on the dire outlook for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

EuropaCorp’s stock has dipped 9.4% in trading on the Paris stock exchange over the past two days which comes only a month after EuropaCorp took a $136M write-off. Remember: Fundamental — apart from their 28% and roughly $67M equity stake in EuropaCorp — is also on the hook for about $50M in equity in the picture.

Added another executive: “Everyone is going to lose money on this. It’s sad actually. This kind of failure actually hurts the business, not just the companies with a financial stake involved.”

This is a huge bummer. Luc Besson has stated that if Valerian does as well as Lucy’s $460MM international gross, then his investors would be fine, financially. But it now looks like $200MM internationally is a best case scenario. There’s a lot of blame to go around but my guess is one of the biggest miscalculations was pitting this against another event film like Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Had Valerian opened in August, it might’ve had a little more breathing room to be a sleeper hit.

In our discussion of Valerian on this week’s /Filmcast, we praised its dazzling effects and its dense, bravura visual storytelling, even as we weren’t huge fans of the casting of its leads and the dialogue. Nonetheless, I wish filmmakers like Besson and the Wachowskis (Cloud Atlas) would be richly rewarded whenever they take chances on independently financed, bold sci-fi.

Unfortunately, based on current trajectories, Valerian will be forever destined to be that gem that people find in a VOD catalog one day, wondering what it might’ve looked like in 3D on a big screen.

  • Donald Boyd

    Putting it up against Dunkirk is the most unforgivable of gaffes. I love Besson’s work – one of my top 10 films of all time is The Big Blue – so suffice to say, I was ready to throw my money at this film. However, I am also 40, have two young boys, and I can’t see TWO films the same weekend – its just not doable or practical. When weighing the two options – the absolute WORST I was going to get out of Dunkirk in my estimation was what? Insomnia? vs there was a better than 50-50 chance that I was going to get Jupiter Ascending (which I went to see in theaters) and not Cloud Atlas.

    • David Chen

      By your analogy, theoretically the worst you would get out of VALERIAN was something like LUCY