Netflix is reportedly in talks to acquire Luc Besson's company EuropaCorp. Besson founded the company in 1996 and has been using it to both produce and distribute films ever since. Besson has directed his own films through the company since 2005's French-language fantasy movie Angel-A, and most recently with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, as well as any future project the filmmaker has on the horizon.
However, Netflix has recently swooped in to discuss a potential partnership with EuropaCorp for Besson to produce and/or direct mid-range-budget films and distribute them via the streaming giant. EuropaCorp mulled the deal with Netflix in order to shoulder the burden of recent debt incurred in large part by Valerian's commercial failure. That's why the company could now be facing an outright sale - and Netflix seems to be interested.
French media outlet Capital (via The Playlist) reports that Netflix is in advanced talks to acquire EuropaCorp. The deal, which has no official terms as of Friday, is expected to close by sometime in the summer. Besson would stay on to oversee the company on the creative end and, presumably, continue to make movies for EuropaCorp that would be released on Netflix. Despite EuropaCorp's financial woes and apparently imminent sale to Netflix in the wake of the Valerian disaster, Besson may still make a Valerian sequel on a smaller budget.
Even though Valerian earned generally favorable initial reactions, it garnered mixed reviews and ended up a massive commercial failure. It grossed $225 million worldwide against an estimated production budget of $177 million, which led EuropaCorp to post losses of more than $80 million in the latter half of 2017.
If a Valerian sequel does get made, it would likely be seen on Netflix. The streaming network continues to seek new avenues for original content, and Besson is a prolific filmmaker with a devoted following. He's long proven able to make quality films on less-than-big budgets. And he would join an already-impressive roster of filmmakers distributing their upcoming work on Netflix, including Martin Scorsese with The Irishman and an upcoming feature from Dan Gilroy that reunites him with Nightcrawler star Jake Gyllenhaal.
Despite Besson retaining creative control with the reported Netflix deal, it's a disappointing end to his majority ownership of EuropaCorp. Valerian wasn't as bad a film as its debacle of a box office total would suggest. The days of Besson landing a big budget for a production may be over for the foreseeable future, but he probably doesn't need big money to be able to deliver quality entertainment. Now, it appears that Netflix will be the venue to find his work.