The Great Wall: Matt Damon film set to lose $75 million, puts future of US-China films in doubt

Clarisse Loughrey

The Great Wall's box office tanking has proven to have particularly dire effects - putting to risk the entire future of US-China co-productions.

The Hollywood Reporter believes the film will end up with losses exceeding $75 million; with its global earnings expected to peak at around $320 million globally, having earned a mere $34.8 million in North America.

The film's $150 million production budget (which excludes, for example, marketing costs) was shared between Universal Pictures, Legendary Entertainment, China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures.

"The fusion of the No. 1 and No. 2 movie markets in the world will eventually happen, but it is a misfire, domestically speaking," box-office analyst Jeff Bock commented.

Universal is now hoping to recoup some of its losses through domestic and international home entertainment releases, alongside selling TV rights.

Certainly, The Great Wall's failures speak to the difficulties faced by both Hollywood and China's film industries in successfully melding both their outlooks, especially when Matt Damon's clunky casting in the China-set film led to widespread accusations of whitewashing.

Perhaps future projects may be able to rectify these issues, with both Skydance and Alibaba's World War II drama The Flying Tigers, written by Braveheart's Randall Wallace (Braveheart), and road movie Edge of the World, co-produced by Pegasus and China Film Group, currently on the horizon.

Elsewhere, Hollywood studios are attempting to make the most of the Chinese market by funding local productions, with Warner Bros. currently working on a slate of a dozen of Chinese-language films.

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