Filmmaker Luc Besson may be the latest director jumping over to Netflix, but his prospective deal has potentially larger implications than a few original movies. Besson’s production company EuropaCorp put a lot on the line with last year’s blockbuster Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, whose budget of $180 million made it the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made. Unfortunately, the film only scraped together $41 million domestic and a worldwide total of $225 million, which—if you count in marketing and distribution fees—made it a loss.
Which brings us to today. Variety reports that Netflix is in discussions with Besson’s EuropaCorp to have the French filmmaker direct and produce several movies for the streaming service over the next few years. These would be Netflix original movies with budgets in the $30 million range, which would bring Besson back to into the realm of movies like Lucy and Leon: The Professional.
The rub here is that Variety is also hearing that Netflix could buy into EuropaCorp’s library, which includes franchises like Taken, Taxi, Transporter, and yes Valerian. Netflix could conceivably partner up to showcase these films on its streaming service, and if Besson has a deal to make movies for Netflix, it’s possible—though maybe not likely—that Netflix could greenlight Valerian 2.
Valerian, which was based on the classic French comic series of the same name, was always intended to be the first movie in a franchise, and Besson was upfront about his desire to continue on with the series. The box office disappointment was disheartening for Besson, but it would be interesting to see Netflix take the same track that made it rise to prominence in the first place—greenlighting further seasons of cancelled TV shows—and applying that to the feature film world.
There’s no indication that Netflix making Valerian 2 has been discussed, and at this point this is all speculation, but it stands to reason there’s a slight possibility this could happen if the streaming service is indeed looking to buy into EuropaCorp’s library. I mean, we know they’ve got the money—Bright 2 is on the way for goodness sake.