Luc Besson has a great reason why people need to see Valerian
Sci-fi movies can be a tricky sell, because unless they're part of a franchise (STAR WARS) or have a more down-to-earth tone (INTERSTELLAR), they can risk being expensive box office disasters rather than mega-hits. For instance, AVATAR became the highest-grossing movie ever made without any franchise affiliation, while Disney’s JOHN CARTER is one of the most famous box office disasters in history. A lot is put on the line with sci-fi films, which is something VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS director Luc Besson knows too well, but isn't letting him stop from preparing for the future.
While talking with the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Playlist), Besson mentioned how he already has the second movie planned and ready to go. The movie will hopefully be the beginning of a new franchise, but before he can get going on any sequel he must nervously wait to see if the box office will even allow him to make one:
“Please, please [make ‘Valerian’ successful] because I want to do the second one. I have [the story]. I just have to be patient and humble, because you can’t start before you know if the first one works or not. So I’m eating my nails and waiting. But I have the second one, the second one is great. Go to the first one, so I can do the second one, please!”
Besson may not have to plead too hard when it comes to this film, as the movie is based on a popular comic book series, Valerian and Laureline, which, as our own Paul Shirey noted in his footage reaction at Comic-Con (below) has even influenced the STAR WARS movies. Having a comic book feel could go a long way in appealing to a broad audience and kicking off a series Besson has clearly put a lot of time into.
Still, as I said before, sci-fi movies can be a tough sell, as most audiences tend to look at them as genre fare and stay away, leaving the movie to rely solely on the ticket buying power of sci-fi fans. But sci-fi movies have grown in popularity in recent years, and if VALERIAN can generate enough positive word-of-mouth (like AVATAR), it has a shot at branching out to the mainstream audience. As well, VALERIAN has a top-notch catch which makes it an easier sell for the unconvinced. As long as Besson focused on making A THOUSAND PLANETS one, good movie, I could care less how many people see it. But it does have Clive Owen in it. When was the last time you saw him in something this big? That's worth the price of a ticket alone.
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