Lionsgate UK has acquired Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The territory was one of the last major unsold sites for Besson’s sci-fi epic. Filming has been underway for weeks on the $180M 3D sci-fi epic based on the French 1967 graphic novel series by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. The cast includes Dane DeHaan and Cara Delavingne, who are respectively playing Valerian and Laureline, a pair of spatio-temporal agents who help defend an utopian 28th century Earth and its neighboring planets from bad guys, with the pair’s adventures rooted in space opera and time travel themes. Clive Owen plays Commander Arün Filitt. Rihanna joined the cast in October. Ethan Hawke is also on-board.
Valerian reps Besson’s return to sci-fi as a director after his 1997 spectacle The Fifth Element. That film had 180 shots of special effects, however, on Valerian, Besson has 2,370 planned. EuropaCorp’s RED distribution label is releasing Valerian on July 21, 2017. Virginie Besson-Silla is producing the film on behalf of EuropaCorp, while Fundamental Films, alongside BNP Paribas, Orange, Universum Film, Gulf Film, River Road Entertainment, Belga Films and TF1 Films Production are the main co-financiers of the movie.