Full first-day France figures are in for Luc Besson’s expensive sci-fi epic, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. Landing 375,400 admissions on 970 screens Wednesday, the maiden French voyage kicked off to 3.19M euros ($3.72M). The start is good enough to rank it as the 2nd best launch day of the year, coming in behind Despicable Me 3‘s Day 1 of 455,713 admissions on 877 screens earlier this month.
The first-day numbers also topped Besson’s 2014 Lucy launch of 351,054 admissions/615 screens. (Considering the differing screen counts, Valerian has a lower PSA than the aforementioned titles.) As a director, Lucy is Besson’s 4th best overall box office performance in the Hexagon, finaling at 5.2M tickets sold. At the top of the charts is The Big Blue (9.2M), followed by the Valerian genre-similar The Fifth Element (7.7M) and the animated Arthur And The Minimoys (6.4M).
The biggest offshore plays on Lucy, Besson’s most recent helming effort, were China and France — essentially neck-and-neck at $44.8M and $43.8M, respectively. Lucy made 72.7% of its box office overseas.
Besson told Deadline in May, that if Valerian does as well as Lucy territory (WW $460M+), “then we’re fine.” But it will have to do phenomenal overseas business to overcome the U.S. bow which struggled big time last weekend.
Reviews have been mixed in France for Valerian. The local press here has given it 3.1 out of 5 stars with audiences scoring higher at 3.9, according to AlloCiné. We’re told today that exits on the movie, which is based on a beloved French comic, were very positive. There’s no major competition opening this frame in France while last week’s champ, Dunkirk, will continue to play, and with DM3 still strong last session.
The EuropaCorp pic, which is self-distributed in France, 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. Major hubs still to take flight include the UK, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Italy, Japan, Korea and China which is still awaiting a release date (although there is speculation it’s looking at late August).
Besson and stars Cara Delavigne, Dane DeHaan and Rihanna have been out promoting the film in Europe, with red-carpet premieres in Paris and London this week.
For Deadline’s deep dive into last weekend’s opening perf, go here.