Company starts to develop 'Taken' sequel

EuropaCorp founder Luc Besson announced that the company has entered the TV production biz at a Paris presentation of annual results.

It has also initiated development on “Taken 2,” the follow-up to the Liam Neeson starrer that has grossed $145 million in the U.S.

According to EuropaCorp co-founder Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, EuropaCorp is in talks with French and overseas TV networks to develop both French-language and international productions. EuropaCorp’s business relationship with French broadcasters — both pay and free-to-air — is vital.

Sales to Gallic TV has raised E42.5 million ($58.9 million) over the 2008-09 financial year, accounting for 33% of EuropaCorp’s total annual revenues. Aired June 8 by pubcaster channel France 2 as part of a French day-and-date theatrical, TV and DVD bow, Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s ecodoc “Home” notched up 8.3 million viewers and a 33% share, giving France 2 one of its biggest audiences of 2009.

EuropaCorp’s TV production plans center on making series spin-offs from its hit movies, such as its “Transporter” and “Arthur” franchises. That strategy yielded USA Networks’ 1997 “La Femme Nikita,” sourced from the 1990 Besson-directed movie “Nikita,” before he set up EuropaCorp in 2000.

But, said Besson, plans include all types of TV production.

“We are taking our time to study options and set up a TV production structure,” added EuropaCorp CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet.

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