Legendary Pictures has been busy acquiring films to come under its banner over the last few years, and recently saw great critical/commercial success with the hip-hop drama Straight Outta Compton. One of Legendary Pictures’ more ambitious projects is the upcoming action mystery The Great Wall, an epic film centering around the Great Wall of China. This will be the first English-language film from director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers, Hero) and will star Academy Award-winner Matt Damon (The Martian) and Academy Award-nominee Willem Dafoe (John Wick). The film also holds the distinction for being the biggest film made in China for global distribution.
Between Damon, Dafoe, Pedro Pascal (Narcos), and Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers), the film already has its fair share of star power. Not much information has been released about the production, leaving much of the storyline for The Great Wall shrouded in mystery – though, it is rumored to be set during the 15th century. What is known is that the film follows a team of mercenaries who are attacked by mysterious beasts while they try and retrieve gunpowder from China to bring back to Europe.
If that sounds like an intriguing premise to you, well, you’re not alone. The only problem is, according to a recent report, the film’s release has just been delayed. So it seems we will have to wait a while longer to see Damon, Pascal, and Dafoe team up against mysterious beasts in China.
The film, which was originally scheduled to be released in U.S. theaters on November 23, 2016, has just been pushed back by a few months. It will now hit theaters on February 17, 2017, the Friday of Presidents Day weekend. Great Wall will now arrive after Legendary’s video game movie Warcraft, and lead into the studio’s highly anticipated blockbuster reboot Kong: Skull Island, which will arrive a month later. The upcoming slate of films from Legendary Pictures will be rounded out by Godzilla 2 in 2018.
While the November and December holidays have long been the coveted release dates, the long weekend in February is quickly becoming a prime time for a movie premiere. It’s possible Legendary Pictures is taking a page from Deadpool’s playbook by saving one of their bigger films for a weekend with less competition and an extra day for filmgoers to hit the theaters. There’s another advantage to the February release date as well; now, instead of going head-to-head with Oscar contenders and dealing with the lingering effects of Marvel’s Doctor Strange, it will now compete with a pair of third franchise installments; namely, Bad Boys 3 and Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
It remains to be seen how well The Great Wall performs against these established franchise films at the box office. However, given its talented cast and director (as well as its intriguing premise), the film is shaping up to be the historic-monster-adventure to watch.
The Great Wall opens in U.S. theaters on February 17th, 2017.