Luc Besson’s upcoming movie just broke a record a few months before it was even released in cinemas worldwide. According to reports, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is now the most expensive French production in history.
Big Hollywood Names
Comic book movies are generally expensive ventures. Marvel and DC both spend hundreds of millions of dollars to bring fictional superheroes to the big screen. The upcoming Avengers: Infinity War even became the most expensive movie to date with a reported $1 billion budget.
Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is no exception. According to Cineuropa (via Screen Crush, making the anticipated movie cost about €197.47 million or about $210 million. It is quite steep even by Hollywood standards. The first Iron Man and Captain America both cost the studio around $140 million to make while Guardians of the Galaxy had an estimated &about $210 million $170 million budget.
As the site noted, a $210 million budget is comparable to Transformers: Age of Extinction and X-Men: The Last Stand. Both movies are parts of already established movie franchises and are assured blockbuster success.
That Besson’s new movie needed more money to made is not a surprise. The movie adaptation of Valerian and Laureline boasts a stellar cast. Besson chose two of the most sought-after young actors in the movie industry for his heroes: Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevinge.
Prior to joining the comic book movie, DeHaan starred as Harry Osborne/Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He also appeared in Two Lovers and a Bear and A Cure for Wellness.
Meanwhile, Delevingne made a name for herself as a supermodel before venturing into acting. Her IMDB lists Paper Towns, Kid’s In Love and, of course, DC’s Suicide Squad.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets also stars big names such as Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, Clive Owen, Kris Wu, and John Goodman. The cast’s fees alone probably ate a huge portion of the movie’s budget.
Creating A New World
But making an entirely new world also requires a few million dollars. The setting of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is called Alpha, a world where aliens from all around the universe converge. Besson not only created an entirely fictional planet for the big screen, but a lot of the characters needed to look like they are from other worlds.
Currently, the movie that holds the most expensive title in Hollywood is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. It had a budget of $378.5 million which makes sense considering that the movie required a lot of CGI.
By the looks of the trailer, Besson’s new movie looks heavy on CGI magic. In fact, DeHaan told Polygon that watching trailer was the first time he actually saw what Alpha and the movie looked like.
“It’s almost all CG,” he stated. “There were some people in costume sometimes but there is so much CG that when I’m watching the trailer I’m seeing it for the first time, truly. We had lots of blue screen, lots of people in motion capture suits,” he said. “It was all in Luc’s head so, it’s cool to see.”
But the studio seems confident that the movie will succeed. Besson has already started mapping out the plans for the sequel.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Synopsis
Besson’s take on the popular comic book created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres brings Valerian and Laureline to Alpha, the titular city of a thousand planets. Under the orders of the Minister of Defense, the two head to Alpha to uncover the unseen dark forces that threaten the existence of all life forms.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will land on the big screen on July 21. Meanwhile, watch its most recent trailer below: