The classy yet historical film ever made in China and expensive if you don't know yet, with a budget of $150 million, "The Great Wall", was intended to demonstrate that the world's no. 2 movie could produce Hollywood-sized hits of its own. Though it collected $171 million in ticket sales in China, "The Great Wall" also hauled in $18.1 million in its North American debut over Presidents Day weekend, as per studio estimates on Sunday.
Revenue Is Not Epic As They Did Imagine
That was good for a 3rd-grade film, falling behind last weekend's top two films, "The Lego Batman" and "Fifty Shades Darker." The Warner Bros. animated issue easily led the box office again with $34.2 million in its second week, sliding up 35 percent. Universal's "Fifty Shades Darker" sold $21 million in tickets in its second week. The sexy sequel continues to play well overseas, where it led global business with $43.7 million over the weekend.
Smashed by critics, "The Great Wall" didn't hit the mark to its initial desires. It was produced by Legendary Entertainment, which has since been acquired by Chinese company Wanda Group. The film, directed by Zhang Yimou, created from the idea by legendary chief executive Thomas Tull, who departed the company last month.
Proven Wrong By The Critics
But "The Great Wall" isn't a bomb. It has made $244.6 million overseas and did over the weekend in North America slightly better than some experts expected."
This is absolutely a strategy that's worldwide," said Nick Carpou, distribution chief for Universal. "All-inclusive, we are one of many markets." Universal could still maintain four out of the top 10 films, the other two being "A Dog's Purpose" ($5.6 million in its fourth week) and "Split" ($7 million in its fifth week), so far, the top film of 2017.
More East-West productions like "The Great Wall" are sure to follow. Studios already collaborating with Chinese film companies regularly, like "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to "Warcraft," a flop in the U.S. and Canada with $47.4 million, but a $220.8 million covered in China. Films like "The Great Wall" and "Warcraft," however, prove that luring the right balance between American and Chinese tastes remains a tough balancing act.
For Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, the more substantial factor for "The Great Wall" wasn't its multi-national heritages but its Rotten Tomatoes rating: a dismal 36 percent "fresh." "Just like every movie of any country's origin, reviews matter," said Dergarabedian. "Viewers only care about the movie. They don't necessary care where it came from."
Two new release, both from 20th Century Fox, also unsuccessful in catching on. The comedy "Fist Fight," starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day as quarreling high-school teachers, opened with $12 million.
And Gore Verbinski's grotesque horror "A Cure for Wellness" - his follow-up to the box-office bomb "The Lone Ranger" - made just $4.2 million, a result that won't help the director's standing in the business. On Friday, Fox apologized for using fake news stories to promote the film.
Projected Ticket Sales In U.S. And Canadian Cinemas
Projected ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian cinemas, as per comScore. Where accessible, the latest international numbers also are included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.
- "The Batman Lego Movie," gathered $34.2 million ($21.5 million international).
- "Fifty Shades Darker," met $21 million ($43.7 million international).
- "The Great Wall," gathered $18.1 million ($19 million international).
- "John Wick: Chapter 2," met $16.5 million ($15.6 million international).
- "Fist Fight," saw $12 million.
- "Hidden Figures," saw $7.1 million ($7.3 million international).
- "Split," only got $7 million ($8.9 million international).
- "A Dog's Purpose," which was expected to gain high, only got $5.6 million.
- "La La Land," with curious articles roaming the internet, they got only $4.5 million ($31.7 million international).
- "A Cure for Wellness," $4.2 million ($4.5 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), as per comScore:
- "Fifty Shades Darker," $43.7 million.
- "La La Land," $31.7 million.
- "xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage," $27.6 million
- "Kung Fu Yoga," $23.3 million.
- "The Lego Batman Movie," $21.5 million.
- "The Great Wall," $19 million.
- "Sing," $18.9 million
- "John Wick: Chapter 2," $15.6 million.
- "Split," $8.9 million.
- "Hidden Figures," $7.3 million.