Biggest cinema gamble of 2017

It is crunch time for French filmmaker and EuropaCorp boss Luc Besson as he gears up for the July launch of his big-budget sci-fi extravaganza Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.

The $180m picture - billed as the biggest budget European independent production of all time — comes out in 140 territories over a three-week period, kicking off in China on July 21, where it will be released on 9,000 screens.

Inspired by the graphic-novel series of French writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézieres, the intergalactic saga follows the missions of space and time-travelling agent Valerian and his tough female colleague Laureline, played by rising stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, with Rihanna also putting in a small appearance.

Even by Besson’s own blockbuster standards, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets is an audaciously ambitious production. Aside from the elevated budget, the series spans a complex universe and a multi-species cast of thousands of different extra-terrestrial beings.

The director freely admits that while its failure at the box office would not destroy EuropaCorp financially, as suggested in some media outlets, it would have a deep impact for him on a personal level. Screen Daily

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets will begin screening at MC Colombo, Empire Arcade, Savoy Premire, City Cinema - Mt. Laviniya (4.15pm), Regal - Gampaha and other films halls from July 21. It is a CEL release


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