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‘The Great Wall’ Builds Solid Thursday Box Office Total of $970K

Second-week films are expected to dominate this President’s Day weekend

Legendary and Universal’s Chinese import “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon, made $970,000 in 2,470 locations at Thursday night previews. The film will expand to 3,326 locations on Friday for a Presidents’ Day Weekend that analysts expect will be dominated by last week’s releases, like “The Lego Batman Movie” and “Fifty Shades Darker.”

Directed by Zhang Yimou, “The Great Wall” has grossed $171 million in China and an additional $53.5 million from 31 other international markets. Along with North America, the film will also be released in Australia, Russia and the U.K. this weekend. The film stars Damon as the leader of an elite force fighting an unspeakable evil that is blocked by the famous Great Wall of China. The producers are Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni, and Peter Loehr; with Jillian Share, Alex Gartner, La Peikang, Zhang Zhao and E. Bennett Walsh as executive producers.

New Line Cinema is entering the comedy “Fist Fight” into the fray this weekend, as it made $600,000 in previews. The studio is anticipating a return of roughly $15 million for the three-day weekend as it opens in 3,200 locations. For the four-day weekend, analysts expect somewhere between $18 million and $21 million.

The film stars Charlie Day as a timid English teacher who is challenged to a fight by his tougher colleague, played by Ice Cube. Julian Bell, Kumail Nanjiani and Tracy Morgan also star in the comedy, which has a budget of $20 million.

Fox and New Regency are releasing their film “A Cure for Wellness” on Friday as well. The outlook is very bleak for Gore Verbinski’s $40 million thriller: it only collected $300,000 from 2,470 locations at previews. Analysts are anticipating a return in the $8 million to $11 million range, while Fox expects a return in the $6 million to $8 million range for the four-day weekend when it opens in 2,703 locations.

“A Cure for Wellness” is set in a mysterious spa in the Alps and follows a young businessman who goes there to find his company’s CEO, but soon discovers that the spa doesn’t deliver what is advertises. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth.

Box office analysts expect the weekend to be dominated by last week’s releases, particularly “The Lego Batman Movie,” which is projected to make between $40-45 million after pulling in $53 million last weekend. “Fifty Shades Darker” and “John Wick: Chapter 2” are also expected to have solid second weekends, having racked up opening weekend totals of $46.6 million and $30.4 million, respectively.