We’ve been quite interested in Legendary’s The Great Wall, a monster movie set in China in the Directed by Zhang Yimou, best known to western audiences for the Chinese films Hero and House of Flying Daggers.
Set in the Northern Song Dynasty (15th Century), the film focuses on British warriors who happen upon the hurried construction of the massive wall. As night falls, the warriors realize that the haste in building the wall isn’t just to keep out the Mongols — there is something inhuman and more dangerous.
Great Wall is being revealed as the most expensive Chinese production, and after Legendary’s Warcraft shouldn’t have much trouble earning it’s money back in the Chinese market. Depending on it’s trailer the film should make a decent amount of money in the domestic market, as the February schedule is usually sluggish and a well made monster movie might make a good amount of box office.
Legendary recently went into business with a Chinese company that bought a major stake in the studio, which allows them a lot more access into both the Chinese exhibitor market along with incentives/tax breaks the government gives to films made by Chinese studios in the country.
We expect that a lot more Legendary films will be made in China, and wouldn’t be terribly shocked if potential Warcraft sequels shifted stage work there. As they could easily cut budget costs of sequel by $50-60 million if made in China, putting a majority of their money in post-production.
Chinese audiences obviously want to see Hollywood films and are paying to see them, no matter if the studio take is around 25% compared to other countries. The earning potential is still huge and theatres are expanding throughout the country rapidly to meet the demands.
You might heard the news that a Chinese company bought the largest European exhibitor along American theatre chain AMC being owned by a Chinese company. These companies obviously see the potential of growth and likely are putting systems in place to make it a lot easier for well-made Chinese films to possibly enter the western markets again.
If you grew up in the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s you’ll remember that Chinese and Hong Kong films used to be a staple of genre cinema, and for whatever reason died out in in the 00’s.
Speaking of which, we recently saw Jackie Chan’s low-budget Skiptrace out earn Paramount’s very expensive Star Trek Beyond domestic opening by millions over the weekend, during it’s own opening weekend in China.
With that said, Entertainment Weekly has released the first images from The Great Wall.
Originally, the lead was going to Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill but ultimately Matt Damon took the role instead.
It’s cast also includes Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Willem Dafoe (Platoon), Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs), pop icon Luhan, and Jing Tian (Kong: Skull Island).
The screenplay was written by World War Z author Max Brooks.
The Great Wall will be released on February 17th, 2017.