Box Office Info:
|Budget: $30 million||Financed by: EuropaCorp; OCS; TF1; Canal+; TMC|
|Domestic Gross: $7,743,794||Overseas Gross: Still in release|
Luc Besson’s Anna went before the cameras just two months after his previous mega-budget picture Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) ended its disastrous global box office run and left his company EuropaCorp in tatters. With EuropaCorp buried under $251 million worth of debt, its board mandated a new policy for their movies after the Valerian debacle, which would return the French company back to its roots of low to mid-budget action fare. This was the first film greenlit under the board’s new directive and the budget for Anna was $30 million. The film was greenlit to ‘de-risk’ the company, as Anna was basically an amalgamation of Besson’s successful wheelhouse of movies toplining violent females and assassins.
The majority of financing for Anna came from pre-sales to distributors that EuropaCorp handled and additional capital was provided by EuropaCorp, the French broadcasters OCS and TF1 and remaining coin came from Canal+ and TMC. The project was announced to buyers with Lionsgate on board for US distribution and a commitment for a wide release. Then in May 2018, Besson was accused of rape and an investigation was launched and Lionsgate pulled the movie from a planned release later that year. He was then accused of sexual misconduct charges from nine other women and his reputation became radioactive and his media empire was collapsing.
EuropaCorp had no other projects in their pipeline after the production of Anna and with the movie indefinitely delayed, it obviously was returning no income to the cash stressed company and they began to sell off parts of EuropaCorp to remain solvent. They sold their French TV division for $13M and Besson closed his Paris film school. EuropaCorp had acquired Roissy Films and its library of over 500 titles in 2008 and they sold just over 300 titles to Gaumont for an undisclosed sum. EuropaCorp was also a major distributor in France and they shuttered their distribution arm. There were negotiations with Pathé about taking a controlling stake in the company to keep things operational, but no deal was reached. However, a distribution deal was reached with Pathé, which would handle the French releases for three EuropaCorp movies a year for three years. The first two movies set under this arrangement was a sequel to a local hit Nous finirons ensemble and then Anna.
In February 2019, the rape charges were dismissed by the Paris prosecutor’s office and in April Lionsgate put Anna on the calendar for June 21. Lionsgate clearly treated the release as a contractual obligation and supported the movie with the bare minimum of what was required for a wide theatrical bow. It was booked into 2,114 theaters and the mini-major paid for 1,195 TV ads (as per iSpotTV) and cancelled all critics screenings. Stateside P&A costs were likely around $10M – $15M. Besson’s name and his presence were hidden during the small marketing push.
Buzz was non-existent and what little marketing material there was, just made the picture look like a low-rent version of Atomic Blonde, Salt and Red Sparrow — sans any bankable actors. Anna was left to fend for box office crumbs against Toy Story 4 and the low-budget remake of Child’s Play also bowed. The reviews that eventually posted were mostly negative and Anna was dead on arrival with $3,600,647 — placing #9 for the weekend led by Toy Story 4. It plummeted 58.9% to $1,481,114 in its second frame and then promptly lost most of its theater count. The stateside run closed with just $7,743,794. Lionsgate would see returned about $4.2M after theaters take their percentage of the gross.
Anna is currently bombing in all 22 international markets it has been released in. Lionsgate also handled the UK release and has unloaded the movie with little care, where it has so far pulled in just $627k. Anna was also rejected in the French marketplace, where it has so far grossed $4.5M. The current offshore cume sits at $18.2M. Remaining markets are set to open through September. More as the numbers come in…