Just because a movie happens to be one of the biggest bombs of summer doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad movie. And that very much seems to be the case for Valerian. Sure, the movie tanked in the states, arriving as the most expensive production in France's long cinematic history. But fans who actually ventured into theaters to see it loved it for the most part. And because of that, director Luc Besson believes Valerian 2 may happen sooner than later.
There were some big disappointments at the summer box office, including King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Dark Tower. But perhaps none landed with a louder thud than Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, based on an old comic book that most in this country aren't overly familiar with. The movie was a big budget visual roller coaster that looked like nothing that has come before. Sure, it curbed from the director's own Fifth Element, which has gone onto be a huge cult hit over the years.
Valerian has a reported budget of $180 million, and is a known passion project for Besson. Dane DeHaan, Rihanna and Cara Delevingne led the ensemble cast, but they weren't enough to entice audiences into theaters who may have been unfamiliar with the source material. Valerian opened number 5 at the box office, and it fell completely out of the top ten shortly after. So far, the movie has only grosses $220 million worldwide, and it's struggling to not even break even. Despite all that, Besson caught up with Bad Taste, and seemed confident that a Valerian sequel may still happen. He says this to the Italian website about a potential sequel.
"I value the Italian option. And there's still Japan also to open. We still have a couple of countries. But so far there's a huge, huge fanbase for Valerian. I'm very surprised. Like I receive messages every day, I mean like people screaming for Valerian 2 already. So there's a community for sure. So it's positive."
The director was asked about the movie's poor box office reception. And how that might affect a sequel if it were to actually happen. He explains this, keeping an upbeat outlook on the situation.
"I wish for every director around the world to do this level of admission, you know? (Laughs) Because we're like pretty high already. What happens today, you know it's a little different than like 5 or 10 years ago. Because the way people consume the film is very different. Like people are very busy, so they go to the cinema, but you stay on screen like three weeks. Before when I start my movie like Fifth Element or Leon, you stay 12, 15, 20 weeks in theater. Now you stay on screen for like two, three weeks and the VOD very soon, you have the DVD, the TV, so sometimes people they want to see a film and miss it, so they go there. So let's wait till the end of what we call the first circle. The first circle is really theater, VOD, DVD and to see what is the audience."
Valerian is considered 50% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that it was a very divisive affair, with some really loving it and others loathing it. Especially the chemistry between the movie's two leads. Over on Cinemascore, general audiences gave the movie a B-. At this time, there are no stated plans for Valerian 2, or proof that a movie is actually happening.