Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Plans Layoffs Following 'Valerian' Losses

Valerian Still - Publicity - Embed 1 2017
Courtesy of STXfilms and EuropaCorp

Co-stars Dane DeHaan and Delevingne.

EuropaCorp plans to cut 22 employees company-wide after the director retook the helm Jan. 1.

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp plans to lay off 22 of its Paris-based staff in an effort to cut costs and refocus on core business activities after the box-office failure of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

In a brief statement Monday, the company said it plans to cut its workforce from the current 79 employees to 57 to “carry out its strategy of refocusing on core business activities.” 

EuropaCorp posted an $83 million loss in December, following a record $135 million loss for the 2016 financial year.

Besson was banking on the success of his pet project Valerian, which had been decades in the making, but the sci-fi epic grossed only $225 million worldwide on a budget upward of $200 million.

The founder retook the helm of the company 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 wildly successful Taken franchise and Lucy, with a planned slate of four to five films per year. That's down from the ambitious 12 per year announced in 2014. 

EuropaCorp sold off its French-language TV production arm in November for $13 million in an effort to bolster its growing English-language TV production, which remains a bright spot for the struggling company. It produces NBC’s Taken and the just-announced The French Detective, starring Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin, for ABC.

That was the latest in asset sales, after the company unloaded its multiplex business in 2016.

Jan. 15, 12:13 p.m. French investment fund Mediawan acquired an 80 percent stake in the French TV division as EuropaCorp finalized the sale to former division head Thomas Anargyros.