Luc Besson’s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets has been granted an August 25 China release date, Deadline has confirmed. China is a hoped-for key play on the expensive sci-fi epic, and this late August date means it will be one of the first imports allowed into the PROC after the traditional (if unofficial) summer blackout. An official announcement on the dating is expected tomorrow, after speculation had begun to emerge in the Middle Kingdom.
The EuropaCorp pic opened to $17M in the U.S. last week via STX, and also released in 16 offshore markets to $23.5M. The only major therein was Germany, while this weekend’s key play is France where Day 1 stats of 375,400 admissions on 970 screens ($3.72M) gave it the second-best launch of the year. The first-day numbers also topped Besson’s 2014 Lucy launch of 351,054 admissions (on 615 screens).
The biggest offshore play on Lucy, Besson’s most recent helming effort, was China at $44.8M. Other major hubs still to take flight on Valerian include the UK, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Italy, Japan and Korea.
China’s Fundamental Films has upwards of $50M in equity in the picture. The company also had dropped an additional $65M-$70M (60M euros) into EuropaCorp. Fundamental’s investment in the movie includes not only China but other territories, given the size of the investment, so they own a large portion of the film. The China release could make a significant difference to the bottom line.