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One of the most interesting film projects this year is The Great Wall. The new film is the biggest co-production ever between the two biggest box office nations in the world. So how's it doing? While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is setting records in here, in China, the country that co-produced the film, The Great Wall has had the fourth biggest opening weekend in the country, bringing in $67.4 million.
The fourth best opening weekend of the year is fairly impressive for a film that was an unknown quantity before it was released. While Hollywood had a strong part in The Great Wall's production the movie is just as much, if no more, a Chinese movie as it is a Hollywood movie. The director, Zhang Yimou, is from China and the entire plot is based there. The Hollywood Reporter points out that the film's budget was $150 million, making the film a pretty high stakes gamble if it didn't pay off. Making nearly half that number back on opening weekend is a great start. The film is a science fiction take on Chinese history that supposes that The Great Wall of China was constructed in order to protect the nation from the attack of Godzilla-like monsters.
Because the setup is very Chinese, a lot was made out of the fact that the hero of the film is a white man who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. While the film gives its explanations for the setup many would have preferred to see a Chinese lead character. It would seem that if there's any resentment toward the casting in China, it's negligible. There are reportedly several other heroes in the film that are Chinese.Of course, seeing Hollywood actors leading movies is hardly something new in China. Two of the films that had bigger opening weekends than The Great Wall were straight Hollywood productions, Captain America: Civil War and Warcraft. The all-time winner, however, is a straight Chinese production, The Mermaid.
While The Great Wall had a big 2016 debut in China, it will be premiering in other countries throughout the next couple of months. It won't hit North America until February of 2017. The same is true of this weekend's big box office winner on this side of the ocean Rogue One: A Star Wars Story won't be opening in China until January. That film cast a pair of Chinese actors in an attempt to make the movie more attractive in the nation that is on track to become the world's largest box office powerhouse.
If the Chinese response is anything to go by it would appear that The Great Wall will be a film worth checking out when it bows here in early 2017. Is it on your list? Let us know in the comments below.