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The first Presidents Day weekend of Donald Trump’s tenure turned out to be something of a bust at the box office as three new movies underwhelmed.
Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s ancient monster mashup The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, was the biggest disappointment, considering it cost a hefty $150 million to produce and was supposed to be a tentpole for both Chinese and American audiences.
Instead, the Legendary Pictures and Universal release crumbled in its U.S. debut, grossing an estimated $21.7 million from 3,325 theaters over the four-day Presidents Day weekend, including a three-day tally of $18.5 million.
However, The Great Wall is a hit in China, with earnings of $171 million. And it has grossed another $73.6 million in other foreign markets for an international total of $244.6 million and a global cume of $266.3 million. Still, its performance in the U.S. is a major blow to the bottom line and puts the movie’s financial fate in question. Males made up the majority of the audience (59 percent), with 50 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 30.
“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.”
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. Subsequently, revenue for the Presidents Day frame topped out at an estimated $178 million, the lowest since 2013 ($168.5 million), according to comScore.
From Warner Bros., family film Lego Batman easily stayed atop the chart in its second weekend with a four-day tally of $42.5 million for a 10-day domestic total of $107.1 million. Overseas, Lego Batman has earned $72 million to date, for a global tally of $179.1 million.
Universal’s erotic, S&M-laced Fifty Shades Darker followed with $23.3 million from 3,714 theaters for the four days. The female-fueled sequel fell less than Fifty Shades of Grey and is a solid win on the global stage, even if it is doing less money overall than the first film. Overseas, Fifty Shades Darker won the weekend with $43.7 million, for a foreign total of $89.7 million and a global cume of $296.4 million.
Great Wall came in No. 3 behind Lego Batman and Fifty Shades, followed by another muscle-bound holdover, John Wick: Chapter 2. Lionsgate’s male-driven action film — solidifying Keanu Reeves’ comeback — earned an estimated $19 million over the four days for a domestic total of $61 million. Overseas, the movie has amassed $31.8 million to date.
Fist Fight, starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert and Tracy Morgan, rounded out the top five with $14.5 million from 3,185 theaters. The $20 million film directed by Richie Keen focuses on a schoolteacher who gets fired and challenges another instructor to an afterschool fight. Fist Fight earned a B CinemaScore and also skewed male (54 percent) and older, with 61 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 25.
When it came to director Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness, there was no remedy. The film, which cost roughly $40 million to make, bombed with a paltry $5 million from 2,704 theaters for the four days. It wasn’t much better overseas, where it debuted to $4.5 million from 36 markets. In the U.S., the film skewed female.
Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth star in the story of 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. (One story claimed the American Medical Association had classified a new malady, “Trump Depression Disorder.”) Cure for Wellness, which was skewered by critics and earned a C+ CinemaScore, played best to females (53 percent). Like the other new films, it fed an older crowd.
Cure for Wellness placed No. 11; it was beaten out for the No. 10 spot by best picture Oscar contender Lion, which grossed another $5.2 million for a domestic total of $37.4 million for The Weinstein Co. and See-Saw Films.
Among other best picture nominees, Hidden Figures has now earned $144.2 million domestically, while La La Land‘s running total stands at $134.4 million.
La La Land, however, has earned the most on a global scale, a stunning $340.5 million. Over the weekend, it passed the $200 million mark internationally to finish Sunday with a total $206.1 million. Hidden Figures‘ global take is $165.5 million.
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