The Great Wall is a flop. That’s according to broadly accepted conventional wisdom in the film industry.
As the most recent and prominent U.S.-China co-production, the Hollywood Reporter called it “a disaster for all concerned” and said that The Great Wall lost “at least $75M.”
Yet, according to Boxofficemojo.com, as of April 2017, the movie earned $332M internationally, including $171M in China and $11M in Russia.
Other sources put the global figure at over $350M. A take-out in Mashable reads: “The Great Wall is an international hit, just not in the U.S.”
Admittedly, its U.S. earnings were disappointing at just over $45M, but the worldwide box office figure isn’t too bad when you consider its budget was estimated at $150M.
The box office take doesn’t include ancillary earnings like Blu-ray and DVD sales and rentals, streaming revenues, etc., and whether or not marketing costs were included in the budget can’t be readily determined.
The film, helmed by legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou, is still pulling in those secondary revenues.
Perhaps this wide-spread thumbs-down judgment is tempered by overall box office results in China—in 2015 box office growth in China was at 49%, but in 2016 it was down to 4%.
Chen Yiqi of Sil-Metropole says that’s not a decline but a healthy adjustment, so you could look at The Great Wall’s $171M Chinese revenues as a 2017 antidote to the 2016 slump.
Hong Kong Director Stanley Tong: “We need to learn from Hollywood on how to take on a global market.”
But it seems the movie must’ve enhanced that knowledge considerably, as its non-China, non-U.S. market hit at least $116M.
Chen Yiqi adds: “We should explore more co-production opportunities and learn from them. It will help the Chinese film industry to grow and mature in the long run.”
by Fred Bailey
International Co-Production is one of many topics to be covered at the 2nd annual Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival, Nov. 9-11. To find out more, please visit: