If it’s not apparent yet, and really, it should be, China has emerged as a massive power player in the worldwide box-office. Some have said Hollywood has pandered to China — think of the way “Iron Man 3” set some of the movie in Beijing simply as a strategic maneuver. And other films live and die by China’s support or lack thereof — see “Warcraft” which died on the vine in the U.S. but made $433 million worldwide thanks to China and the blockbuster’s international support. Or look at “Ghostbusters” which was banned from China because of its spiritual/ghost content, apparently a no-no in the nation, and it grossed a withering $100 million internationally — a phenomenally low figure for a four-quadrant movie released worldwide (domestically it earned $128 million).
So yes, China has become everything to movies and this will only continue. The second part of the conversation is Hollywood actors taking lead roles in Chinese productions because a) they bring greater star power, b) China has the money to pay stars well and deliver massive blockbuster budgets. As far as American actors and the Chinese film industry is concerned, it’s a big win-win. Which leads us to “The Great Wall,” a film that will be looked at as a forerunner in this American/Chinese collaboration. Legendary Pictures, now owned by a Chinese conglomerate — they also released “Warcraft” — know what’s up so they’re obviously the players behind “The Great Wall.”
Directed by Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers”) uses the famed seventh wonder of the world to spin a massive adventure story. Here’s the official synopsis:
Starring global superstar Matt Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Legendary’s The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.
Co-starring Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau, Universal Pictures will release the film on February 11, 2017. Check out this epic new nine-minute trailer featuring a good dash of new footage and let us know what you think.