EuropaCorp has made a distribution deal with Pathé Films in France that will see the latter company release three films from Luc Besson’s company over a three-year period. The news Friday comes as reports surfaced earlier this week that EuropaCorp was shuttering its domestic distribution business amid continued financial strain.
The Pathé deal begins with Guillaume Canet’s Nous finirons ensemble, a sequel to his 2010 pic Little White Lies that stars François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard and Gilles Lellouche. The other film noted in today’s announcement is Anna, the EuropaCorp-Lionsgate co-production written and directed by Besson and starring Helen Mirren, Sasha Luss, Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy. That pic is still undated in the U.S.
The two films had been pushed back on the release calendar by EuropaCorp, which has struggled since Besson’s $200 million sci-fi feature Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets failed to score at the box office, grossing just $225.9M worldwide. In June, it reported a net loss of €82.5M euros ($95.4M) for the year. The domestic distribution business had accounted for 17.5% of its total revenue in its most recent fiscal year.
Talk of an outright sale and Netflix investment, potentially in EuropaCorp’s library, have been swirling most of this year, as have staff reductions. The publicly traded company sold its TV business in November 2017, and in September it entered into exclusive negotiations with Gaumont to take over distribution of its Roissy Films library.
As for the Pathe deal, EuropaCorp said terms and conditions of the partnership will be decided on a film-by-film basis. “We’re delighted to partner with Pathé, and to share our savoir-faire and enthusiasm with them,” said Besson, EuropaCorp’s CEO since the exit of former chief exec Marc Shmuger just more than a year ago.
Besson has also been the target of sexual harassment and sexual assault claims from a total of nine women that have come to light during the past year. He has denied all allegations.