Luc Besson loves assassins and his latest action thriller Anna features another one in the form of Russian supermodel Sasha Luss. She stars in the reported $30 million budgeted pic with Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, and Cillian Murphy in the supporting cast. As mentioned, the director has played in the genre before with LaFemmeNikita and TheProfessional. His recent filmography includes hits (2014’s Lucy) and big budget flops (2017’s ValerianandtheCityofaThousandPlanets).
Expectations are low here. Its best hope could be for a bountiful European gross. The blockbuster earnings of Lucy were greatly assisted by its lead Scarlett Johansson. No such headliners exist here.
Rolling out on approximately 2150 screens, I think $5 million could even be too high of a mark.
Director Luc Besson has cultivated a following over the past quarter century and the devotion of his admirers will be put to the test when Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets debuts next weekend. The big-budget sci-fi pic is based on a popular French comic book series and it’s been a passion project for Besson for many years.
Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, and Rutger Hauer are among the cast in this production which reportedly cost at least $180 million to produce. Some of Besson’s works have turned into ones with devoted cult status, including 1994’s The Professional and 1997’s The Fifth Element. His last pic, 2014’s Lucy, was a box office success. However, that may have had more to do with Scarlett Johansson’s involvement fresh off The Avengers.
Critical reaction thus far has been a treat to follow. It stands at a decent 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many writers praising its visuals and sheer audacity. Yet it’s not often a picture with that high a Tomatoes score is also deemed by The Hollywood Reporter as the worst movie watching experience of the year.
Valerian is expected to and will likely do considerably better overseas than stateside. Competition on this side of the pond is significant – Dunkirk opens the same weekend, War for the Planet of the Apes will be in its sophomore weekend, and Spider-Man: Homecoming in its third.
My suspicion is that Besson’s latest could rank third among the newbies next weekend. That would be behind Dunkirk (which is a given) and Girls Trip (which is starting to look like a sleeper hit). Bottom line: the studio better bank on a pleasing European haul.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opening weekend prediction: $17.8 million