EuropaCorp Stock Falls After 'Valerian' Bombs

Courtesy of STX Entertainment
'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets'

Analysts had boosted the stock in recent weeks on a predicted worldwide box office of $500 million.

If the weak reviews weren’t bad enough, the stock market has now weighed in on Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, with EuropaCorp closing down 8.31 percent Monday in trading on France’s Bourse.

The stock ended the day at €3.50 ($4.07) per share, with EuropaCorp losing €15 million in value since Friday's closing.

Valerian, Besson’s years-in-the-making sci-fi epic, opened in fifth place in North America over the weekend with just $17 million from 3,553 screens, trailing Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk and the R-rated comedy Girls Trip, which opened to $50.5 million and $30.4 million, respectively, as well as Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes, which are weeks into wide release. 

Touted as the most expensive indie ever made, and certainly the most expensive French film, the $180 million Valerian stars Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan and Rihanna.

Analysts had boosted the stock in recent weeks on a predicted worldwide box office of $500 million. Firm Gilbert Dupont had rated the stock as a "buy" in May on expectations of a blockbuster box office, in part because of its cast of young actors and its strong distribution partnership with STX in the U.S., but Besson’s film failed to deliver.

While EuropaCorp’s exposure on Valerian is somewhat limited, as the pic was largely financed by presales in 120 countries, it still doesn’t bode well for the long-term strength of the company.

EuropaCorp posted a loss of a record €120 million ($136 million) for the fiscal year in results released in June, after a series of failures. Shut In, starring Naomi Watts; Miss Sloane, starring Jessica Chastain; The Circle, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson; and the Kevin Spacey cat comedy Nine Lives all tanked at the box office.

Besson had been looking to establish Valerian as a tentpole to rescue the ailing studio, and had a sequel planned.

The stock remains a "buy" according to analysts, citing the film's potential in France and Europe, where it will be released July 26, and in China, where it still does not have a release date.

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