Legendary’s China-set historical monster epic “The Great Wall,” which stars Matt Damon as a European mercenary, reeled in $68 million at the Chinese box office during its first week, but it hasn’t been feeling the love from critics.
And the founder of China’s version of the People’s Choice Awards isn’t holding back about director Zhang Yimou’s first English-language film — or its Hollywood star.
“That movie became one of the worst movies in China,” Wang Haige, chairman of the Huading Awards, told TheWrap through a translator.
And although Damon was nominated for a Huading for his role in “The Martian,” which made $95 million at the Chinese box office, Wang criticized the actor’s presumed rationale for signing on to “Great Wall.”
“He joined the movie because of the high pay,” Wang said. “I’m against those stars who attempt to get more money to act in the more low-quality movie.”
Wang said he appreciates that China’s burgeoning film industry has given some Hollywood veterans a “second career” and is encouraged by Chinese actors such as “Rogue One” stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen crossing over more into American cinema, he said the latter should be “pushed little by little” — and should not be a purely economic decision.
“Hollywood stars need to join the movies based on good stories and script,” said Wang, who held this year’s Huading Awards ceremony on December 15 at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles — the second time the show took place in the U.S. “We need to show the audience the movie quality.”
While the winners of the Huading’s are chosen via online voting in China, we’re guessing that “The Great Wall” will not be a big awards-getter next year.
“The Great Wall” is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on February 17.