Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets: Luc Besson’s Blockbuster Bombs

The poor opening weekend in the U.S. of Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets–essentially a bomb–has left EuropaCorp, the Paris-based seeing its stock value drop by 8.31%.

It is the most expensive independent movie of all time with budget of $180 million, “Valerian” grossed just $17 million from 3,553 theaters and landed in fifth place, behind “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Girls Trip” and Christopher Nolan’s World War II movie “Dunkirk,” which surpassed expectations and received glowing reviews.

Based on a French comic book series, Valerian stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as a pair of futuristic, time-traveling crime fighters. Rihanna also stars.

Tim Westcott, senior analyst at London-based IHS, pointed out the risky strategy of first launching in the U.S. a film like “Valerian,” which is not a DC Comics or Marvel franchise and is based on an unknown property outside of Europe.

The film has now opened in Canada, Israel and Germany, among other markets, but has yet to open in more than 100 territories, France (July 26) and the U.K. (Aug. 2).

The release in China, where it’s expected to be released on 9,000 screens, has been delayed.

But the movie’s failure with U.S. audiences casts a shadow on its prospects in other countries.

Lucy as Case Study and Model?

Previous EuropaCorp film such as Taken and Lucy have done well in the U.S. as well as worldwide.

Lucy, which cost $40 million, grossed $43.8 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. and went on to take $463 million worldwide.

“Valerian” needs the film to be hit as the company just posted record losses of 119.9 million euros ($135 million) for the fiscal year ending March 31.

“Valerian” has to make $400 million worldwide to help EuropaCorp break even and make some profit in order to justify a sequel.

“Valerian” was released in the U.S. by STX Films, which was hired by EuropaCorp in January after the collapse of Relativity Media, with which EuropaCorp had a joint distribution venture.