EuropaCorp Exec Lisa Ellzey Out as U.S. Production Chief

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Still 10 - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of STX Entertainment

The exit follows Luc Besson's French-based studio cutting costs and refocusing following 'Valerian' losses.

U.S. film production head Lisa Ellzey is the latest top executive at Luc Besson's EuropaCorp to leave as the French-based studio cuts costs and refocuses on core business activities after the box-office failure of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

"Lisa's contract wasn't renewed. EuropaCorp has a reduced slate that has fewer films and most of the films relate to Luc [Besson] written or directed projects," a company spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter.

Ellzey, an Emmy-winning producer, joined EuropaCorp in 2013 as executive vp U.S. motion picture production, based in Los Angeles, as Besson looked to increase moviemaking in the American market.

She more recently served as president of production at EuropaCorp USA. Besson had been banking on the success of his pet project Valerian, which had been decades in the making, and the sci-fi epic grossed only $225 million worldwide on a budget upward of $200 million.

The EuropaCorp founder retook the helm of the company on Jan. 1 following the departure of CEO Marc Shmuger in November. Deputy CEO Edouard de Vesinne left in September.

Besson's company will refocus on producing thrillers, like the successful Taken franchise and Lucy, with a planned slate of four to five films per year. That's down from the ambitious 12 movies per year announced in 2014.

Ellzey came to EuropaCorp from Lionsgate, where she similarly helped beef up that studio's production department. Before that, Ellzey completed executive stints at 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Entertainment.