'Valerian' Leads EuropaCorp to Post $83 Million Loss

Valerian - still 1 - H 2017
Courtesy of Domitille Girard/Europacorp

The production company also cited other underperforming films such as 'The Circle.'

Financial results show the scope of the disaster that was Valerian: The City of a Thousand Planets for Luc Besson's EuropaCorp, with the company posting a half-year loss of $83.1 million.

The company attributed this loss to the poor performance of Valerian, as well as other underperforming films, including Tom Hanks starrer The Circle.

It included a write down on unreleased films of $5.5 million, pointing to the troubled Renegades, and what it termed “the impairment of the intangible asset relating to the distribution of films” for $15.3 million as a result of the failure of its RED joint venture distribution company with Relativity.

Besson’s sci-fi epic Valerian sank at the global box office, grossing just $185 million on a roughly $200 million budget. Foreign sales, led by Valerian, amounted to $82.5 million. Despite the loss, revenues were up for the half year, to $162.9 million.

Besson will retake the helm of the company Dec. 31, after CEO Marc Shmuger announced his departure Nov. 11. That followed the exit of deputy CEO Edouard de Vesinne, who left in September.

As Shmuger exits, EuropaCorp is focusing on film production, following the sale of its multiplex theater business last year. It will reduce its slate to a core of two to three English-language feature films per year, two French-language feature films and its growing English-language TV division.

It is banking on a slew of highly anticipated films including Kursk, directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Colin Firth, Lea Seydoux and Matthias Schoenaerts and the spy thriller Anna, starring Helen Mirren, Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy to boost its bottom line next year.

Its English-language TV arm remains a bright spot, with revenue in this division up nearly 100 percent on the completion of the first season of NBC’s Taken. The second season of the series is in production, and The French Detective, starring Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin, is in development for ABC.

The company also sold its French TV division for $13 million in November in an attempt to shore up its cash reserves. EuropaCorp posted record losses of $135 million during the last financial year.