The Great Wall of China has stood for thousands of years, a true feat of engineering and teamwork that has cemented it in history as one of the greatest marvels of this planet. The Great Wall movie...not so much. The big budget film was the biggest and most significant co-production between American and Chinese studios, but it failed to live up to its high expectations and will be looking at a huge loss in the box office. The Great Wall is expecting to be in the hole for more than $75 million.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that The Great Wall will "likely end up with losses of more than $75 million." Universal, which co-produced the fantasy film with Legendary Entertainment, China Film Group, and Le Vision Pictures, is likely to lose at least $10 million. The Great Wall, a union between the two biggest movie markets, ironically underperformed in both countries. The film earned $171 million in China (it was projected for much more than that) while American audiences didn't even pretend to care about Matt Damon shooting arrows at monsters, only turning out to the tune of $34.8 million. When all is said and done, The Great Wall is looking at about $320 million globally.
Though the studios who produced the film will likely see money back thanks to domestic/international home release and TV, that's a best case scenario type situation and there's no question on anyone's mind that the film is a failure. The movie was an experiment of sorts to see how an American-Chinese co-production would perform, and while the results are disappointing, the potential of what a successful release could profit is too enticing to ignore for long.
The Great Wall faced trouble almost out of the gate when it was announced that Matt Damon would be the lead in the film. Many critics of the film claimed that this was white-washing, and what they interpreted to be replacing an Asian lead with a white one. The producers, director, and Damon defended the decision, but it still clearly left a bad taste in peoples mouth if the domestic box office is anything to go by.
Set in the Song dynasty, The Great Wall told the fictional history of why the massive wall was actually constructed -- not to keep out invading human hordes, but man-eating monsters. The film followed a group of European mercenaries led by Matt Damon, who team up with Chinese soldiers to defend the wall from an army of monsters. The film was directed by Zhang Yimou.
The Great Wall wasn't the first successful American-Chinese production the studios were hoping for but another one will come along soon enough. If you have the interest, The Great Wall is still currently in theaters.