Whilst China has to wait until Jan 6 for this weekend’s global box-office champ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to arrive, they’ve had their own record breaking release with Legendary’s The Great Wall. The film grossed $66m (RMB465 million) since opening on Friday.
House of Flying Daggers and Hero director Zhang Yimou’s English Language monster epic, starring Matt Damon, Andy Lau, Willem Dafoe, Tian Ling, amongst a roll-call of A-list Chinese actors, is the most-expensive film ever produced in China.
It is the third largest opening of the year at the Chinese box-office, which is a marketplace with an ever-increasing industry importance. Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid and Legendary’s own domestic dud, Warcraft, are one and two respectively.
The premise is relatively simple; every sixty years a horde of monsters creeps up on The Great Wall of China, and now it’s the turn of Taotie, a beast famous in Eastern mythology, to attack humanity. The film focuses on the group of warriors atop the barricade and their attempts to defeat the encroaching creatures.
The Great Wall is already a talking point due to its apparent white-washing, which is mainly down to the casting of Matt Damon in a movie set in medieval China. It appears these accusations are somewhat unfounded, with Variety stating “it’s heartening a film [whose] European protagonist doesn’t cave to the controversial ‘white saviour’ syndrome.” In addition, The Guardian notes “Garin [Damon] spends much of the film struggling to comprehend the system the Order embodies, confused and humbled by the language and culture.”
Western audiences can see what all the fuss is about, and just enjoy a good old fashioned, hopefully beautifully directed monster mash, when The Great Wall is released by Universal Pictures in the UK and US on February 17, 2017.
Image: Universal Pictures