Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element is returning to theaters, to commemorate the cult hit sci-fi film’s twentieth anniversary. The ’90s played host to both multiple pieces of culturally indelible theatrical sci-fi and big budget Bruce Willis blockbusters, but it’s safe to say that few dared to be as creatively inventive and riotously over the top as The Fifth Element. Both directed and co-written by Besson – then best known outside of his native France for 1994’s Leon: The Professional – The Fifth Element stars Willis as Korben Dallas, a 23rd-century cab driver who finds himself thrust into a quest to save the Earth, after a mysterious young woman named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich, in her breakthrough role) literally falls into the back of his flying taxi.
While today widely regarded as a cult classic, The Fifth Element was actually quite successful overall during its original theatrical release, earning $263 million worldwide on a budget of $90 million. That budget made Fifth Element the most expensive European film ever made at the time, with it also standing as the highest grossing French-made film internationally until 2011. Critics also mostly praised it, although the critics that didn’t like it tended to do so quite strongly.
With The Fifth Element set to celebrate its 20-year anniversary next month, EW reports that Sony Pictures is teaming up with Fathom Events to bring the sci-fi spectacle back to theaters for a special two-day revival. The screenings – set for Sunday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 17 at both 2pm and 7pm – will showcase a restored 4k version of the film to fans, alongside an exclusive preview of Besson’s upcoming movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which itself opens in theaters on July 21.
The pairing of Fifth Element with a Valerian preview is a shrewd move from a business perspective, as the former has been relentlessly compared to the latter for awhile now, with many seeing Valerian – set in the 28th-century – as a possible spiritual successor to Element. Plus, Element is such a visual feast that it practically begs to be seen on the big screen; another trait Valerian looks likely to share.
Tickets for The Fifth Element’s anniversary screenings are now available for purchase, and with the film’s devoted fanbase, it would probably be wise for those interested to secure their spot soon. The scenery-chewing supporting performances by Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker almost beg to be seen with an audience of like-minded fans.
The Fifth Element returns to theaters on Sunday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 17.
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