French film-maker Luc Besson in bailout talks with US studio

French film-maker Luc Besson in bailout talks with US studio
Luc Besson. Photo: AFP
French film-maker Luc Besson's loss-making studio EuropaCorp said Sunday it was in talks with US investment fund Vine Alternative Investments, one of its creditors, for it to take a major stake to rescue it.

The studio, confirming a report in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, said in a statement it was speaking with Vine about “a possible equity participation”.

It cautioned though that it “cannot give any guarantee that this operation will carry through”.

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Luc Besson with Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan, Rihanna and Herbie Hancock at the premiere of expensive sci-fi thriller Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. Photo: AFP 

According to the Journal du Dimanche, Besson – the man behind movies such as Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element and the action-packed The Transporter and Taken films – preferred to see Vine take control of EuropaCorp rather than French film group Pathe.

Representatives for Pathe and Vine were not contactable on Sunday by AFP.

EuropaCorp, a 20-year-old studio, located in a northern Paris suburb, has run up losses over the past four years, particularly by failing to recoup its big production costs on a lavish 2017 sci-fi movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, that was a box-office disappointment.

EuropaCorp in May secured a six-month suspension of its debt repayments as it cast around for a rescuer. Its 2018-2019 financial year saw it rack up €110 million in debt, on top of the 82 million in the previous period.

In 2016, China's Fundamental Films injected €60 million in the studio, becoming its second-largest shareholder.

Besson's latest film, a crime thriller titled Anna that he wrote and directed, opened last month to poor reviews but solid audience scores.

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