With ‘Valerian’ Looming, EuropaCorp Posts Record Losses of $135 Million

PARIS – Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has posted record losses of 119.9 million euros ($135 million) during the fiscal year ending March 31, driven by a series of English-language flops and its costly U.S. distribution operations.

The 17-year-old film studio released its financial results Wednesday, just weeks before the opening of its enormously expensive sci-fi thriller “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which EuropaCorp desperately needs to be a hit.

The company said that this year’s losses – more than triple the $44-million loss it posted in 2010 – were due to the under-performance of its U.S. slate. The studio cited the poor showing of “9 Lives,” “Shut In,” “Miss Sloane” and “The Circle.”

The banner distributed those films in the U.S. via RED, its joint venture with Relativity Media, and said it spent more than 100 million euros in P&A costs that were not fully recouped.

Although EuropaCorp didn’t mention Relativity in its financial release, the company acknowledged that it had made “dramatic changes” to its U.S. distribution strategy. In light of Relativity’s bankruptcy woes, EuropaCorp opted to find another partner in the U.S. and signed a multi-year deal with STX Motion Pictures Group, under which STX will handle the theatrical marketing and distribution services for upcoming EuropaCorp releases, most notably “Valerian.”

EuropaCorp said losses have already been partly covered by the 60 million euros ($67 million) brought to the company by FF Motion Invest and the sale of its multiplexes for 20 million euros ($22.7 million) and music library for 14 million euros ($16.3 million).

EuropaCorp will now be focusing on action and science fiction films, which the company has a track record of delivering. Some of the outfit’s most successful films are “Taken” (the trilogy), “The Fifth Element” and “Lucy.”

CEO Marc Shmuger told Variety recently that, “in the past year or so, we recognized that EuropaCorp strayed too far from its core strength, which is producing slick genre films for the right price that travel successfully around the globe.”

A return to profitability will depend in large part on the performance of “Valerian,” even if the company has limited its risk by raising roughly 90% of the film’s budget through pre-sales and equity investment. With an estimated budget of $180 million, “Valerian” is considered to be the most expensive independently financed movie ever made.

A EuropaCorp spokesperson told Variety that the company has limited its exposure to less than $20 million on “Valerian.” Nevertheless, the spokesperson said that “EuropaCorp is looking towards a significant performance from ‘Valerian’ in the hopes of creating the company’s newest franchise.”

Pavel Govciyan, an analyst at Natixis, said “Valerian” would have to gross about $400 million worldwide to help EuropaCorp get back in the black. Govciyan added that he was optimistic “Valerian” could reach that target.

More Film

  • Amazon Developing Original Series Based on

    Amazon Studios Buys 'Selah and the Spades,' Will Develop Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to “Selah and the Spades,” a gripping look at a prep school drug dealer, Variety has learned. The film marks the feature debut of writer and director Tayarisha Poe and had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was a favorite with critics. Amazon has [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • The Wound African Cinema Berlin Film

    Finance Forum Brings African WIP Into Focus at Durban FilmMart

    The 10th edition of the Durban FilmMart, which unspools parallel to the 40th Durban Intl. Film Festival, will feature 10 fiction and 10 documentary works-in-progress taking part in its annual Finance Forum. The leading co-production market on the continent, the Forum brings together producers, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, funding bodies, and other industry players from across the [...]

  • The Lion King

    'The Lion King' Looks to Roar Life Into Domestic Box Office

    Hollywood just can’t wait for “The Lion King” to hit theaters. That’s because Disney’s highly anticipated remake is expected to draw herds of moviegoers at a time when ticket sales are seriously struggling. Box office watchers predict that the studio’s grand return to the Pride Lands could become one of this year’s biggest hits. “The [...]

  • Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky

    Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky Cinema After Management Shuffle

    Sarah Wright, Sky’s top acquisitions exec, will take on responsibility for Sky Cinema after a management shuffle at the pay-TV giant. Wright fills a role vacated by Ian Lewis, who recently left Sky after 20 years. He was one of several Sky staffers to leave after its takeover by Comcast. As director of Sky Cinema [...]

  • Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer

    Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer on Matthew Modine Slate

    Veteran actress and union activist Jodi Long is running for secretary-treasurer of SAG-AFTRA as a member of Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. She is facing Camryn Manheim, who announced her candidacy on July 9 as part of the Unite for Strength slate for the re-election of union president Gabrielle Carteris. Unite for Strength and United [...]

  • Toni Monty

    Durban FilmMart Head Toni Monty: ‘Africa Has Its Own Story to Tell’

    The Durban Film Festival’s industry program, the Durban FilmMart, celebrates its 10th anniversary as the leading confab for filmmakers from across the continent, with a lively program of panel discussions, seminars and workshops unspooling from July 19-22 in this sunny seaside city. In addition, 10 fiction and 10 documentary works-in-progress have been selected for the DFM’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content