‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ Sets a Record As the Most Expensive Movie Ever Made Outside Hollywood

Once a movie reaches a certain scale – usually when sci-fi settings, elaborate costumes and flashy CGI come into play – it’s just assumed that it’s a big Hollywood movie. That’s not true anymore. For example, Dredd was not a studio movie, it was an independent British production that then sold to an American distributor for release. Similarly, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets looks like a major American studio movie, but it’s not.

When the relatively new distributor STX Entertainment releases it in theaters this summer, the average audience member may look at Valerian‘s sci-fi setting, its elaborate costumes and flashy CGI and understandably assume it’s just another big-budget studio movie, but it’s not. Luc Besson’s latest movie happens to be the most expensive French movie ever made. Sure, it has an English-speaking cast, but this isn’t the product of a big studio like Disney coordinating across all of its various consumer departments to make a product that’ll check off all of the right boxes on a balance sheet. In the trailers, it may look like one of those movies, but its origin is worth highlighting.

For starters, it’s worth knowing this wasn’t a movie that went through the normal studio development process, and it shows that Hollywood no longer has a monopoly on making big-budget movies. Valerian is still shockingly expensive for a non-Hollywood movie, but it may be a sign of how things are changing. Here is a sampling of the most expensive, non-American movies ever made. This excludes coproductions, like The Great Wall.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)


$210 million

Asura (2018)


$100 million

2.0 ( 2017)


$59 million

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2011)


$49.3 million

Pinocchio (2002)


$45 million

And if you’re wondering what the most expensive American movie ever made is, it’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with a price tag reported to be over $340 million. Don’t feel bad for Disney, though–it also grossed over a billion dollars.