Weekend Box Office: Matt Damon's 'The Great Wall' Crumbles With $21M U.S. Debut
'A Cure for Wellness' is also bombing over the long Presidents Day weekend, leaving 'The Lego Batman Movie' and 'Fifty Shades Darker' firmly in charge.
Acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, bombed in its U.S. debut over the long Presidents Day weekend with an estimated $21 million from 3,325 theaters, including a three-day tally of $18.1 million.
That's a poor start considering the movie's $150 million production budget. Revised estimates for the holiday weekend will be released Monday morning, while final numbers won't be ready until Tuesday. In any case, the first Presidents Day weekend of Donald Trump's tenure in the White House turned out to be something of a bust at the box office.
None of the new offerings — Great Wall, New Line's comedy Fist Fight and New Regency/Fox's psychological thriller A Cure for Wellness — were able to topple holdovers The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker.
From Warner Bros., Lego Batman is doing pleasing business in its second weekend as it topped the $100 million mark domestically. The animated family film is projected to lead the holiday weekend box-office chart with a four-day gross of $45 million, including a three-day haul of $35 million from 4,088 theaters. The film's cume through Monday will be nearly $110 million.
Overseas, Lego Batman took in another $21.5 million from 62 markets for a foreign total of $72 million to date.
Fifty Shades Darker saw far less of a decline in its second weekend than the first film, 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey. The sequel dipped 55 percent over the three days to $20.9 million from 3,714 theaters for a projected four-day take of $24.1 million and a domestic tally of $92.9 million.
The erotic, S&M-laced follow-up topped the foreign chart with $43.7 million for an offshore cume of $89.7 million and a global total of $267.9 million through Sunday.
Legendary Pictures teamed with Universal in making The Great Wall. The monster movie, skewered by critics and earning a mediocre B CinemaScore from audiences, is billed as the first English-language production shot entirely in China.
Great Wall has done giant-sized business in China, where it has earned $171 million. And it has taken in another $73.6 million in other foreign markets for an international total of $244.6 million.
The pic's story centers on European mercenaries searching for black powder who become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures. Damon stars along with Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.
"The U.S. is not the driving market and just one part of an overall strategy," said Universal president of domestic distribution Nick Carpou. "The movie did huge business and continues to open in other international numbers. It just opened No. 1 in Russia. Zhang Yimou is an extraordinary action director."
Lionsgate's male-fueled hit action pic John Wick: Chapter 2, starring Keanu Reeves, placed No. 4 in its sophomore session with an estimated $16.5 million for the three days and $19.5 million for the four-day frame, bringing the movie's early domestic tally to $61.7 million.
Fist Fight, starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert and Tracy Morgan, followed at No. 5. The comedy, which received a B CinemaScore, grossed an estimated $12.2 million from 3,185 theaters for the three days and $14.6 million for the four-day session. The film, directed by Richie Keen, focuses on a schoolteacher who gets fired and challenges another instructor to an afterschool fight.
When it comes to director Gore Verbinski's A Cure for Wellness, there wasn't any remedy that could stop the movie from perishing in its debut. The psychological thriller grossed an estimated $4.2 million from 1,750 theaters for the three days and $4.8 million for the four-day holiday outing.
Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth star in the $40 million film, which follows a young executive who is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but he soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem.
Late last week, Fox apologized for planting fake news stories as part of the movie's digital marketing push. Cure for Wellness will come in No. 10 or No. 11.
Jan. 17, 1:30 p.m.: Updated with revised projections.
Jan. 18, 7 a.m.: Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend projections.
Jan. 18, 7:30 a.m.: Updated with estimated three-day and four-day numbers.