'Lucy' Helps Boost EuropaCorp's First-Half Profit

Scarlett Johansson in Lucy

International sales of 'The Homesman' also help Luc Besson's company, with more financial contributions from 'Lucy's' global success yet to come

Blockbuster Lucy helped boost EuropaCorp’s financials for the first half of its fiscal year, with director Luc Besson’s Paris-based “mini-major” studio reporting a 46 percent gain in net profit over the year-ago period to $122 million (€98 million).

The firm cited the French box-office and international sales strength of the sci-fi thriller. Lucy, which dominated multiplexes around the world this summer, will continue to haul in cash for the company, which noted that the full benefit of its international success was not reflected in the latest results and will be accounted for in future quarters.

The company is also betting on the third installment of Liam Neeson’s Taken trilogy, which will be released in Jan. 2015, and the reboot of the Transporter series, which comes out in June 2015, to keep its financial momentum going.

In addition to the Scarlett Johansson hit, sales of the late Paul Walker’s last completed film, Brick Mansions, and Tommy Lee Jones’ Oscar-contender The Homesman were responsible for the biggest piece of the revenue pie, $47.5 million (€38.1 million). Royalties from last year’s Robert De Niro-starring mob comedy The Family, Kevin Costner spy thriller Three Days to Kill and Zoe Saldana drama Columbiana also boosted the bottom line.

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EuropaCorp’s releasing in France posted revenue of $20.5 million (€16.5 million) on the strength of those titles, as well as the French-language biopic Saint Laurent.

NBC’s Taxi Brooklyn, the first of EuropaCorp’s English-language TV series, was among the shows that boosted revenue in the sector. Revenue there was up 55 percent to $23.3 million (€18.7 million), up from $15 million (€12.1 million) last year, with the delivery of the third season of French spy series No Limit, which airs on France’s top-rated TF1, and the Mary Higgins Clark mini-series Where Are You Now, also adding to that sector.

The events segment of the company, which covers functions that take place at the Cite du Cinema studios outside of Paris, posted $1.7 million (€1.4 million) in revenue. That sector has recently been the subject of controversy over financial maneuvers during its transfer from Blue Event to EuropaCorp.

Sales of physical video revenue fell slightly, down to $4.6 million (€3.7 million) from $4.9 million (€4 million) in the first half of 2013.

The company, which received a $600 million credit facility in October, is doubling down on its English-language film and television prospects, investing $97.8 million (€78.5 million) in film and television production in the first half, up from $56.5 million (€45.4 million) last year. The company noted that seven English-language films are set to go into production soon.

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