Luc Besson’s ‘Valerian’ Is the Most Expensive French Production in History
While Luc Besson’s upcoming Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets might look like your usual Hollywood sci-fi production (well, marginally weirder than that, but still), it’s actually an entirely French-made movie. And the most expensive one ever made, at that.
Cineuropa (h/t The Playlist) crunched the numbers, and it turns out that Valerian cost about €197.47 million, which translates to about $210 million U.S. — a healthy sum even for a Hollywood production. In comparison, that’s about the same price as Transformers: Age of Extinction and X-Men: The Last Stand. (The most expensive movie ever made by Hollywood is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which had a budget of $378.5 million.) Those are two extremely effects-heavy movies, and we can see from the trailers that Valerian is mostly CGI movie magic.
And the gap between Valerian and the film that previously held the top spot — 2008 fantasy movie Asterix at the Olympic Games — cost a meager €78 million (about $82 million). So this is a pretty big deal. Not to mention the fact that it has some of the biggest names working right now, like Cara Delevigne, Dane DeHaan, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, John Goodman, and Rihanna. Besson made a star out of Natalie Portman thirteen years ago with Leon: The Professional, and now he gets to work with any stars he chooses, as well as a massive production budget. Since Valerian has its origins in a French sci-fi comic, it’s only appropriate.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hits theaters July 21.