A monstrous box office bomb tries to save face on Netflix


You regularly hear filmmakers talk about how difficult it is to secure financing for an independent film, so you have to wonder how on earth Luc Besson managed to wrangle $223 million to produce Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, especially when a lot of people were predicting a box office bomb from a mile away.

The comic book adaptation isn’t just the most expensive European movie ever made, it’s also the costliest indie in history, so there was a lot riding on Valerian‘s shaky shoulders.

At the end of the day, though, a $226 million return saw it go down in the history books as an all-timer of a flop, not a great look when it was widely believed a $400 million gross was required simply to break even, never mind justify a sequel.

Fortunately, or maybe not depending on your opinion, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has returned to prominence on streaming per FlixPatrol, having infiltrated Netflix’s most-watched list this weekend.

Miscast central duo Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne do what they can with a paper-thin script and chronically uninteresting narrative, even if some of the visuals are admittedly (and mightily) impressive. You know it’s bad when an ambitiously bonkers and financially disastrous space opera doesn’t even find a new life as a cult classic in the aftermath (not to name any Jupiter Ascending in particular), it just kind of… exists as a thing that happened.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.