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Box Office: Matt Damon’s ‘Great Wall’ Topples ‘Fist Fight,’ ‘Cure for Wellness’ on Thursday

Variety logo Variety 2/17/2017 Dave McNary
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Action fantasy “The Great Wall” took in $970,000 at 2,470 North American locations in Thursday night shows that began at 7 p.m., easily topping high school comedy “Fist Fight” with $600,000.

Fox-New Regency’s psychological horror movie “A Cure for Wellness” grossed a quiet $300,000 at 2,215 locations from Thursday previews that began at 8 p.m.

Universal’s “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon as a European mercenary joining the fight against monsters during China’s Song Dynasty, is expected to take in about $17 million at 3,326 sites during the upcoming weekend. The Legendary production has already grossed a hefty $171 million in China since its Dec. 16 opening and another $50 million in other international markets. It’s opening in 21 more markets this weekend.

“The Great Wall,” directed by Zhang Yimou, carries a $150 million budget and is co-financed by Le Vision Pictures and China Film Group. It’s the most expensive movie ever shot in China. Damon stars along with Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.

“Fist Fight,” starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day as feuding teachers, is also expected to debut to roughly $17 million over the four-day President’s Day weekend at 3,185 locations. The titular fight stems from Cube’s history teacher character blaming Day’s English teaching for getting fired. Richie Keen directed with Jillian Bell, Tracy Morgan and Christina Hendricks also starring.

“Fist Fight” should be profitable for New Line as it carries a $20 million price tag and will be the only comedy for several more weeks.

Warner Bros.’ animated “The Lego Batman Movie” should notch its second box office victory easily with forecasts in the $40 million range. Universal’s erotic sequel “Fifty Shades Darker” will battle “The Great Wall” and “Fist Fight” for second. “Lego Batman” opened with $53 million on Feb. 10-12.

The three new films have not received much critical support with “Fist Fight” scoring a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes while “The Great Wall” received 36% and a “A Cure for Wellness” came in with 41%.

“A Cure for Wellness” is opening at 2,704 sites with muted expectations in the $6 million to $8 million range. “Wellness” centers on a young executive (Dane DeHaan) trying to retrieve the company’s CEO from a shadowy spa in the Swiss Alps.

Fox apologized Thursday after reports emerged that it had partnered with “fake news” providers to post dubious stories such as a fake meeting between President Donald Trump and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, at a resort, which made passing references to the film.

“A Cure for Wellness,” directed by Gore Verbinski, has a $40 million budget. It also stars Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth.

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