Today is the day: Luc Besson’s spiritual successor to The Fifth Element is here via Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It looks very okay and might flop at the hands of both Dunkirk and Girls Trip!
We’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out for sure but I have a theory that it will do poorly, given a prediction I had that it would be poorly reviewed: the film stars rich kid cum model cum actress Cara Delevingne. For years, Hollywood (or whoever, really) has been trying to make Delevingne happen as a movie star but she has been bombing and bombing and bombing. A film like Valerian is a make or break moment.
Let’s investigate. Delevingne has a fairly abyssmal Metascore of 40, a metric by Metacritic that is the average of reviewed works on a scale from 0 to 100. According to the metric, this number means Delevingne’s projects are generally of “mixed or average reviews” or “generally unfavorable reviews.” She is a point away from literally being in the red on the matter. A quick look at her films – from her supporting role in 2014’s The Face OF An Angel to a co-starring role in 2016’s Suicide Squad – reveals that they are critically panned.
But how are the finances on them? Let’s look at how they fared.
• The Face Of An Angel: This is an outlier, small film that made less than $40K. We’ll give this one a pass for being little.
• Paper Towns: Domestically, the film made $32 million but $53 million internationally. The budget was only $12 million and was markedly an underperformer in comparison to similarly teen aimed The Fault In Our Stars.
• Pan: This fucking disaster. The movie was marred with whitewashing issues that helped to steer this $150 million budgeted movie to gross more than $35 million domestically. It did score $93 million internationally. Delevingne was a mermaid who seemingly wasn’t top billed.
• Suicide Squad: Another stinky monster. Delevingne was “top billed” but was reduced in the marketing (at least that’s what I saw over the course of its release). This was a critical bomb but a major success: it cost $175 million to make and scored $325 million in the states. Abroad? $420 million. Nice.
• Fifty Shades Darker: Like Suicide Squad, this was a pretty big hit, costing $55 million and making $144 million domestically and $264 million abroad. That’s a hit, fam.
By this math, one thing is realized: movies with Delevingne at the front don’t do as good. Granted, Paper Towns is the biggest example and didn’t do that badly.
So how will Valerian do? It’s looking dicey. The film cost $209 million to make and, unfortunately, is already sinking at the hands of Dunkirk. As Deadline explains, “based on this morning’s figures, Girls Trip looks to land in the low- to mid-$20M range while Valerian, a reported $180M estimated production financed via pre-sales, tax subsidies and equity financing, could near $20M.” So, yes, this is going to bomb. Domestically, that is.
The film also has Rihanna – another movie bomber – who has huge name recognition and will likely attract eyes. My question, as someone who has an interest in fashion and who has had Delevingne shoved in the face as an “actor,” is if this will be her damning moment as a dud. Unlike Zac Efron who has a long line of acting work, Delevingne does not – and her movies haven’t done that well. Is her model stock that high that she is internationally bankable? We shall see.
If I had to bet, I would say she is poison or, at least, not someone who you want to lead with. Rihanna? Sure, she’s great. Efron? Perhaps! But Cara Delevingne? I think not.