‘Valerian’: How Luc Besson Made a $180 Million Indie That Can’t Fail

IndieWire | 7/7/2017 | Staff
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It’s hard to get more ambitious than Luc Besson’s 3D epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” The action-sci-fi film that hits theaters on July 21 is STX Entertainment’s answer to franchises like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and is packed with astonishing visuals that combine the dystopian desert sets of “Mad Max” with the underwater environments of “Avatar” and the galactic backdrops of “Star Wars.”

“Valerian” follows two special operatives (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) in the vast space metropolis of Alpha, home to a species from a thousand planets, where a dark force threatens the future of the universe.

Year - CinemaCon - National - Association - Theatre

At this year’s CinemaCon, the National Association of Theatre Owners’ annual show where studios present show reels and give first looks at their new movies, STX chairman Adam Fogelson touted several of his fledgling studio’s upcoming titles, but left little doubt that “Valerian” was the film that would help the company “compete and win like a major.”

The competition at CinemaCon was fierce, with major studios teasing titles like “Spiderman: Homecoming,” “Transformers: The Last Knight” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” but the sizzle reel for “Valerian” had something that no other studio presentation did: a new intellectual property, and one as visually stunning as Besson’s “The Fifth Element.” Reviews are still embargoed, but we can confirm that the movie delivers on the high expectations set by the sizzle reel shown at CinemaCon.

Besson - Years - Years - Reports - Cover

“Valerian” took Besson seven years to conceive, $180 million to produce, and almost two years to edit, as Wired reports in a new cover story. Perhaps the most remarkable data point, however, is the number of major Hollywood studios involved with the movie: zero.

It’s not that Besson turned away studio support. Hollywood today makes big bets only on established intellectual properties with built-in audiences and “Valerian” is based on...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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