It was then, however, that disaster struck at the box office. The film had been expected to open to at least $20 million, but it fell far short of that expectation. By the end of its opening weekend, in fact, it had made just $17 million – and by Hollywood standards, that wasn’t good enough. For a film to be considered a hit, it has to at least break even at the box office, and Valerian, with its budget of over $197 million, now looked unlikely to achieve that. Consequently, companies that had invested in the movie saw their stocks fall.
Some people immediately pointed to the film’s U.S. release date as the main reason for its downfall, since it was competing against the Christopher Nolan war epic Dunkirk and ensemble comedy Girls Trip. And both of those films outstripped Valerian when it came to getting audiences into American movie theaters. Dunkirk, for instance, took more than $50 million during its opening weekend, while Girls Trip debuted to $30 million. Valerian simply couldn’t compete.