Luc Besson returns with a low-budget film, “Arthur malédiction”

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On June 29, a horror movie titled arthur’s curse by Barthelemy Grossmann (39 years old). This is the second feature film by this director of Swiss origin after 13 m2 in 2007, and various television series. The cast, centered around veteran Ludovic Berthillot, brings together mainly young and little-known actors, who play a group of teenagers trapped in an abandoned house… Filming lasted 33 days and took place between two lockdowns in the summer of 2020 in Normandy. The budget amounts to 2.24 million euros, financed in particular by Canal Plus. The theatrical release was handled by a small distributor, Apollo Films.

The interest of this small budget is that it marks the discreet return to the screens of Luc Besson, absent from dark theaters since Ana, filmed in the fall of 2017 and released in the summer of 2019. The director of the big blue Since 2013 he has known Barthélemy Grossmann, who had directed two episodes of the television series Unlimited, written and produced by Luc Besson. In practice, the veteran co-wrote arthur’s curse, and welcomed the firing squad at his château des Lettiers. Title refers to his children’s trilogy Arthur and the Minimoys (2006-10), whose heroarthur’s curse he’s a fan, according to the script. Above all, this film is the first production of his new company. Luc Besson SAS Production (LBP) created two years ago. Being this company with French capital, it benefits from public subsidies (CNC, etc.), unlike EuropaCorp, whose capital is now majority American.

arthur’s curse therefore, it marks the end of a long parenthesis due to the multiple difficulties encountered by Luc Besson in recent years, not to mention covid. First, his last two films (Valerian and Ana) were commercial failures. the failure of Valerian It significantly weighed down the results of its study EuropaCorp, which had to enter the safeguard procedure to later be bought by its main creditor, the American fund Vine. For her part, the actress Sand Van Roy filed a complaint against the director-producer for rape in May 2018. Finally, the investigating judge dismissed the case at the end of 2021, but Sand Van Roy appealed. Meanwhile, these accusations have tarnished her reputation, particularly across the Atlantic, where Ana sneaked out without any promotion.

All these problems had forced Luc Besson into inactivity. asked by BFM-TV In October 2019, the director-producer explained: “I haven’t worked for a year and a half, […] my activity has stopped completely. For a year and a half I’ve written 4 movies and a 500-page book, that’s all I have to do.”

After this modest introduction, Luc Besson will return to the big budgets that he loves so much. as revealed Varietyin May will launch the production of dog man, which should be released next year at the earliest. The film will tell the story of a man (played by Caleb Landry Jones) saved by his love for dogs… The film will be written and directed by Luc Besson, and co-produced by LBP and EuropaCorp.

Next, EuropaCorp’s stated goal is to produce two English-language science fiction or action films each year, plus one French-language film, as well as English-language television series. In February 2020, EuropaCorp announced that it would return to this rate of three big budgets per year starting in 2021. Ouch! The covid has been there, and this schedule has had to be postponed. EuropaCorp then promised “a resumption of filming but no significant new movie releases” in 2021, then two movies and a TV series in 2022, and finally three movies a year from 2023. But this new schedule no longer it has been celebrated. .

In practice, the reboot is slow. As of the end of September 2021, no amount had been drawn down from the $100 million credit facility intended to finance new films. Investments in new films amounted to €495,000 between April 2020 and March 2021, then €1.1 million between April and September 2021.

Finally, in December 2021, EuropaCorp assured that “several shoots [étaient] in preparation”, and that “several significant projects already developed [seront] put into production soon, as soon as the associated financing is secured. These projects that are currently being pre-financed are films, series and documentaries, taking into account both EuropaCorp’s DNA and the evolution of the market”.

However, the studio did not give any details about these plans. It has just announced in June 2021 to develop documentary series on three themes: the environment, urban territories and the world of cinema.

This quasi-inactivity did not prevent Luc Besson from being paid handsomely by EuropaCorp, of which he is now only Chairman of the Board of Directors and Artistic Director. For the fiscal year ending at the end of March 2021, he will receive a gross salary of 2.3 million euros, however, -15% less than the previous fiscal year. This figure includes a salary of 600,000 dollars a year to ensure the artistic direction of EuropaCorp, and an “expatriation allowance” of 800,000 euros a year to finance his life in Hollywood. When he returns to filmmaking, he too will receive $400,000 to $1.6 million for each set; plus $2-6 million for each achievement; plus a few hundred thousand dollars for each production.

But this virtual inactivity led EuropaCorp to cut two-thirds of its employees. The workforce has fallen in three years from 118 to 41 people (excluding casualties).

The projects in the boxes of Luc Besson

In 2015, EuropaCorp unveiled a list of eight films “in development”, none of which have seen the light of day yet:

  • Lucia 2
  • Colombian 2
  • Twice, directed by Jean-François Richet from a screenplay by Luc Besson, Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger
  • dna, written by Luc Besson
  • Undergrounddirected by Pal Oie from an idea by Luc Besson
  • sea ​​at war, written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
  • Prayer , written by Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger
  • Kawasaki syndrome

In 2017, EuropaCorp CEO Marc Shmuger had ad a sequel to Lucybut Luc Besson later denied in a message virulent on Instagram (since removed).

Finally, in 2018-19, EuropaCorp announced the development of five television series, which have not yet seen the light of day:

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)on an original idea by Luc Besson, co-written with Bill Wheeler, for the American channel TNT
  • Graybased on an original idea by David Baldacci
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Secbased on the comic strip by Jacques Tardi, already adapted to the cinema by Luc Besson in 2010
  • American flagbased on the American comic book by Howard Chaykin.
  • a series on the history of jazz, for which Luc Besson would be the showrunner

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