Of all the comic book movies coming out in 2017, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets may be the most interesting. And it also looks like it may be the riskiest. Doing an expensive sci-fi movie about a relatively obscure comic book that most mainstream moviegoers aren’t aware of is dangerous on its own, but when that movie costs more than $200 million dollars to make, it is insanely risky.
According to Cineuropa, director Luc Besson’s Valerian now holds the distinction of being the most expensive French movie production in history. And it isn’t even close. The closest contender is a French movie called Asterix at the Olympic Games, which cost $82 million to make. With the budget for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets reportedly coming in at a staggering $209 million, that puts it at almost triple the budget of the previous record holder. Here is the official synopsis for Valerian.
“Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner, blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him. Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe. Alpha’s seventeen million inhabitants have converged over time- uniting their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all. Unfortunately, not everyone on Alpha shares in these same objectives; in fact, unseen forces are at work, placing our race in great danger.”
It isn’t overly uncommon for comic book movies to have massive budgets, but even most Marvel movies don’t approach the $200 million mark. That means that EuropaCorp is either really confident in what Luc Besson has in store, or things just got out of hand. Either way, Valerian is going to have to make a boatload of money just to break even, let alone be the blockbuster hit the studio is likely hoping it can be. At least the trailers have looked outstanding. Though, that may not be nearly enough to give this movie the push it needs during a very crowded summer movie season.
Even if Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets had no direct competition it would possibly be a tough sell, but the week before Fox is releasing War for the Planet of the Apes and Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk will be competing with it directly. Not to mention that Spider-Man: Homecoming will still be hanging around for its third weekend at the box office. This adaptation of the graphic novel series, Valerian and Laureline could wind up as a delightful surprise for moviegoers this summer, or one of the biggest bombs of 2017. Only time will tell. The cast for the movie includes Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke, Clive Owen and Rutger Hauer. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is directed by Luc Besson and is set for release on July 21.