Scheduled for release next month in China, Luc Besson’s latest film set in the intergalactic city of Alpha has shot to the top of the box office in France for its first showing at 2.00 p.m. EuropaCorp, the film’s production company and CNES’s partner at the Paris Air Show, shot the much-awaited feature film at the Cité du Cinéma studios in Paris, generating 1,000 jobs and spending several tens of millions of euros in France.
The adaptation of the popular Valerian and Laureline science-fiction comic series published in Pilote magazine in the 1970s served as CNES’s inspiration at this year’s Paris Air Show in June, where the series’ illustrator Jean-Claude Mézières attracted large numbers of admirers to the agency’s pavilion. The cast of the latest blockbuster from Luc Besson, the creator of The Fifth Element and Lucy, features young actors Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne supported by international stars Rihanna, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke and Herbie Hancock.
With its bold and innovative approach to depicting the world of deep-space exploration, a focus of CNES’s efforts, the most expensive European film ever made reflects growing interest in space as a theme of the future. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a futuristic film that taps into the same rich cultural vein as the Observatoire de l’Espace, the agency’s arts and science laboratory helping artists from all horizons to give free rein to their creative talent. Working with film production companies to raise the profile of space, CNES is supporting this latest French film aiming to achieve international success in the U.S. market and around the world.
Hot on the success of Rosetta-Philae and Thomas Pesquet’s mission on the International Space Station, and looking forward to the future VENμS satellite set to acquire images of vegetation on Earth’s surface from its 720-kilometre orbital perch, the public is showing a keen interest in the great mysteries of the universe that CNES is striving to solve. Sharing the advances of space and astronomy with the wider public, engaging audiences, inspiring vocations and ‘beating the drum’ for the space sector are all part of the agency’s vocation as it seeks to open new avenues of investigation. And space is the stuff of dreams that films are helping to inspire.