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The Great Wall and A Cure For Wellness bomb on US debuts

The Great Wall

Story by Jack Foley

MATT Damon’s The Great Wall and Gore Verbinski’s horror drama A Cure For Wellness have both bombed at the US box office.

The former, from acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (of House of Flying Daggers fame), took an estimated $21 million over the long President’s Day weekend, including a three-day haul of $18.1 million.

The confirmed figure won’t be released until Tuesday but if early estimates prove correct, The Great Wall‘s tally is some way short of the $150 million it took to make – although the film has proved lucrative in China, where it has earned $171 million alone.

The story focuses on European mercenaries searching for black powder who become embroiled in the defence of The Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures. As well as Damon, the film co-stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.

Commenting on the film’s US performance as opposed to its international figures, Universal president of domestic distribution Nick Carpou said: “The US is not the driving market and just one part of an overall strategy. The movie did huge business and continues to open in other international numbers. It just opened No. 1 in Russia. Zhang Zimou is an extraordinary action director.”

If that comment suggests that The Great Wall will be untroubled by its US performance, the news was nowhere near as good for A Cure For Wellness. The psychological thriller, starring Dane DeHaan, grossed an estimated $4.2 million for the three days and $4.8 million for the four.

The film follows a young executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness centre” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but who soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. It cost $40 million to make. It may miss out on the US top 10 completely – with estimates placing it at either 10th or 11th.

The weekend’s only other new release, Fist Fight, starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day, grossed an estimated $12.2 million for the three days and $14.6 million for the four – meaning it will open in fifth spot.

The story follows a school teacher who gets fired, and challenges another teacher to an after-school fight.

None of the weekend’s trio of new releases performed well enough to displace holdover titles The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker from the top two positions.

Lego Batman is expected to jump the $100 million mark in the US in only its second weekend, with the family film projected to top the Presidents Day chart with a four-day gross of $45 million, including a three-day tally of $35 million. That would put the film’s total through Monday at nearly $110 million.

Fifty Shades Darker actually saw far less of a decline in its second weekend than the first film, Fifty Shades of Grey, dipping 55% for the three days to $20.9 million for a projected four-day take of $24.1 million. If confirmed, the figures would put the film’s US total at $92.9 million.

Rounding out the US top five, meanwhile, was John Wick: Chapter Two, starring Keanu Reeves, which placed fourth in its second weekend with an estimated $16.5 million for the three days and $19.5 million for the four.

Next story: Donald Glover and James Earl Jones join Disney’s The Lion King remake