The long-awaited Matt Damon film, “The Great Wall” debuted in China over the weekend, and made a large financial impact in the Chinese box office. The film, which was co-produced by teams in the U.S. and in China, grossed over $69 million dollars, although such financial success was not to be expected due to casting controversy and pessimism from critics.
The production teams, Universal Pictures, Le Vision Pictures, and Legendary Entertainment, the latter of which is owned by one of China’s largest film group, Wanda Group Co., put it approximately $150 million dollars to shoot the film. Wanda Group had a large stake in having such a successful opening weekend, as not only are they a large production agency, but the company owns the largest theater chain in China.
Zhang Yimou was the director of “The Great Wall,” which was the main appeal for Matt Damon to sign up for the part. Damon plays a European mercenary who fights along side with Chinese soldiers to fight off wards of monsters attacking China.
Damon stars alongside of popular Chinese actors, Andy Lau and Lu Han in this “action-packed-sci-fi –war-drama”. Director Zhang is excited by the opening weekend financial results as he feels this film will set the stage for future international co-produced films and also open many doors for younger Chinese directors to make such successful turnouts.
“The Great Wall” is set to hit the US market in February with mixed criticism surrounding the upcoming release. Many critics report frustration in a “whitewashed” cast, and also an overall uninspired plot.
Extended 9 minute Trailer
Whether or not “The Great Wall” makes as ‘great’ a financial impact in the US markets is yet to be seen, but from what was seen this weekend in the Chinese market, there is still hope!
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)