This week’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is being called “Luc Besson at his most imaginative” by critics and, at a reported budget of $180 million, the most expensive film ever made by a non-U.S. studio. For all I know, the movie will become a massive worldwide phenomenon and make back its budget many times over. Surrounded by extremely tough competition (including several popular comic-book adaptations based on better-known properties, at least in the United States, along with a new Christopher Nolan movie), that seems unlikely. If it doesn’t, though, it’s going to be easy to second-guess the money that was spent on a weird sci-fi comic starring two actors, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, with no track record headlining massive blockbusters.

Every so often, a movie like Valerian comes along. Not like Valerian in the sense that it’s a gigantic movie co-starring Rihanna; that doesn’t happen a lot. More in the sense of a movie with an enormous (some might say ill-advised; others might say absurd) budget that doesn’t check off all the boxes of a blockbuster. We’re often told that the only movies that get financed at massive scale are the ones with the biggest stars and the brand-name characters known and beloved all over the world. But there are occasions, sometimes outside the Hollywood system and even occasionally within it, where some oddity falls through the cracks, and manages to make it into production with a gigantic budget and questionable financial prospects. And even when you don’t love those movies, their sheer existence despite impossible odds makes them worth celebrating.

To that end, here are 16 more Valerian-esque journeys to the edge of the galaxy where considerations of finances (not to mention taste) went out the window, and produced some absurdly expensive films.

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