Too bad, so sad…
From Hollywood Reporter: The collapse of The Great Wall at the domestic box office (it has made $34.8 million in North America) has iced any notion of a significant future for U.S.-China co-productions. The movie likely will end up with losses of more than $75 million, sources say, and Universal Pictures will be on the hook for at least $10 million.
The studio funded about 25 percent of the film’s $150 million production budget, the rest coming in equal parts from Legendary Entertainment, China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures. But Universal also covered Wall’s global marketing expenses, conservatively estimated at $80 million-plus. The film earned $171 million in China (a disappointment) and is expected to top out at about $320 million globally. That’s way less than investors had anticipated for the biggest-ever U.S.-China co-production. “The fusion of the No. 1 and No. 2 movie markets in the world will eventually happen, but it is a misfire, domestically speaking,” says box-office analyst Jeff Bock. Adds one Hollywood executive who has dealt extensively with China, “There’s no question but that it’s a failure.”
The good news for Universal is that its share of this failure will be relatively modest. The studio gets to collect a roughly 10 percent distribution fee from all theatrical revenue (between 40 percent and 50 percent of the total box office), and box-office rentals likely will recoup much, if not all, of its marketing outlay before other investors dip into whatever money is left to cut into production costs. The four partners will split any further theatrical income equally.
If the movie generates hoped-for ancillary revenue (including $20 million from domestic home entertainment and as much as $40 million from international home entertainment, with $25 million to $30 million from TV — admittedly, a best-case scenario), that will further stanch the red ink.
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