Neeson, Johannson, Costner Power Up Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp Revenues

English-language movies, high-end TV drama production drive EuropaCorp fortunes

CANNES – Powered by English-language actioners – Liam Neeson’s “Taken” and “Taken 2,” now Scarlett Johansson sci-fier “Lucy” – plus high-end TV drama production, Luc Besson’s Gallic major EuropaCorp punched €213.1 million ($290.4 million) in 2013/14 full year revenues.

EuropaCorp’s financial year ended March 31.

Figure includes $32.6 million ($44.4 million) in royalties from the first two “Taken” installments under a buy-out deal with Fox.

Including that buy-out, EuropaCorp revs were up 14.7% for the year. Without it, they edged down 2.9%.

Also contributing to 2013/14 sales: First revenues from Universal on the Luc Besson-helmed “Lucy,” where Johansson plays a drug mule whose consignment seeps into her body, giving her superhuman intelligence. Universal has just put forward the U.S. release to July 25; and international deliveries on McG’s 3 Days To Kill,” with Kevin Costner as a CIA agent doing one last job.

Driven by such deals, international sales accounted for 52% of full-year revenues, two thirds of fourth quarter income. While its action movies power EuropaCorp revenues, 2013/14 results saw TV series production sales build a significant 27%, emerging powerfully as the studio’s second biggest money earner.

TV production revenues came in at a full year’s €36.2 million ($49.3 million) as Gallic broadcaster TF1 took delivery of “Taxi Brooklyn,” plus season two of “No Limit,” and pubcaster France Television was delivered crime thriller mini-series “The Passenger” and two TV movie adaptations of Mary Clark Higgins’ novels.

Notching up €185.8 million ($253.2 million) in 2012-13 revenues, EuropaCorp posted €19.6 million ($27.0 million) net profits in 2012/13 – its best ever result – and a 16.3% operating margin, thanks largely to international sales, including a Fox fee, on “Taken 2.”

Full year consolidated results, establishing 2013/14 profit or loss, will be announced June 26. Profits will depend on how much production cost hits EuropaCorp’s bottom line.

EuropaCorp’s full-year revenue were announced just over a week after it confirmed a new $450 million credit facility with J.P. Morgan, SunTrust Bank and OneWest Bank to finance its expansion into English-language production, plus P & A costs after its creation of Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution (RED), its joint U.S. distribution venture with Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Distribution.

Just before Cannes, EuropaCorp announced its biggest-ever slate of English-language movies including “The Lake,” an epic thriller written by Richard Wenk (“The Expendables 2″), “Sea At War” from Louis Leterrier (“Now You See Me”), which is co-penned by Luc Besson, as well as Camille Delamare’s “The New Transporter” and Simon West’s “DNA.”

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