As was pretty much expected—well, at least I expected it—the producers of Luc Besson’s sci-fi movie Valerian, EuropaCorp (which includes Luc Besson), have set their sights on China to make up for some of the movie’s losses in the U.S. and other markets.
Valerian debuts in China this Friday, and according to Variety—using another recent Luc Besson/EuropaCorp picture, Lucy, in comparison—a lot rides on this particular opening:
The stakes are particularly high for Fundamental, “Valerian’s” distributor in China and other Asian territories, which invested 60 million euros in EuropaCorp to become its second-largest shareholder a year ago, and put an additional $50 million into “Valerian.” The hope is not only for “Valerian” to outpace the $45 million that “Lucy” grossed in China, but to rack up at least $100 million in China and South Korea, said Alexandre Koller, an analyst at Gilbert Dupont. Fundamental is expected to roll out the movie on 5,000 to 7,000 screens in China, on a par with “Lucy.”
Valerian has underperformed on only in the United States, but in the UK, Canada, and Australia. BUT: it has performed well in France (where it had the 2nd best opening day there in 2017) and Russia (where it made 3 times Annabelle did in its opening weekend).
So the question starts to become…do different countries have different “tastes” in films (uh, probably), and might a flick like Valerian that does poorly in some areas do great in others?
And if Valerian is indeed the type of movie Luc Besson wants to make…is it viable enough to make it without too much of a dependence on “Western” box-office as a whole?
And then…apply this question to some movies being made in Hollywood right now…