EuropaCorp has exited its Paris-based Deputy CEO, Edouard de Vésinne. The company made the announcement late Monday night saying the board had decided to terminate his contract so that he could “develop his production company.” De Vésinne was appointed to the post in April 2016 and his ouster comes amid the disappointing box office performance of Luc Besson’s costly sci-fi epic Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.
The board said it had found that the TV and film production activities of de Vésinne’s Incognita banner were “no longer compatible” with keeping the exec in his role as Deputy CEO. However, Europa said the two companies will continue to develop projects together and maintain a first-look deal.
De Vésinne was elevated in 2016 by EuropaCorp chief exec Marc Schmuger. He had previously worked at EuropaCorp TV alongside Thomas Anagyros and has exec produced such series as the Taken adaptation, Taxi Brooklyn and Section Zero. In the Deputy CEO post he was responsible for maintaining EuropaCorp’s French businesses.
With a reported production cost of $180M, Valerian has failed to achieve lift-off at the international box office and fell flat domestically. There are several partners here so risk is spread, it has been maintained, but Europa also posted a $136M loss back in June and announced it was realigning its content strategy to focus on sci-fi and action. The hope was certainly that Besson’s ambitious passion project would have performed better — ideally reaching Lucy territory (WW $460M+). The global box office through Sunday was $210.5M with almost all markets open.