They say that all that glitters is gold, but that certainly is not the case with The Great Wall - the newly released film brought to us by prolific Chinese director, Zhang Yimou. Costing over $150 million to make, this was the most expensive film that has ever been entirely shot in China. For such an endeavor, Zhang, who was chosen as the lead director of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, was certainly the right person for the job.

The Great Wall or The Great Flop?

While the film tanked in North America in its opening week earning a mere $18 million, it still managed to rake in $245 million worldwide.

Enough to cover the investment that Dalian Wanda Group made in producing the film, and then some - but surely not as much as they would have liked. The film certainly had all the makings of a success - a legendary director, a star-studded cast full of international celebrities like Matt Damon, and Pedro Pascal, and a mega-budget. So what went wrong?

The Great Wall Controversy

Even before the film was released, there was a huge uproar from the Asian-American community. Many people felt like the casting of Matt Damon was just another way for Hollywood to perpetuate this idea of the "White Savior". It is evident that the reason why Damon was chosen for the role was to make the film more widely accessible especially to Western audiences who would play a major role in ticket sales.

However, critics were too severe, jumping the gun before having even seen the movie. While there have been a number of films that have been released where there is no explanation for why the main character is Caucasian - Justin Chatwin in Dragon Ball Z, Scarlett Johansson in Ghost In The Shell, Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, to name a few.

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This was not one of those movies. The fact of the matter is that Damon did not play the part of someone who should have been Asian but was replaced with a Caucasian face. Instead, he was cast as he was, a White trader who came to China in search of black powder. Was his role necessary? Not particularly, but he was far from a "White Savior".

While the Asian-American critics most definitely played a role, it couldn't have been the only factor that contributed to its poor performance in the box office. As most critics have agreed, the film was a wonderful spectacle with brilliant cinematography, but a lackluster storyline that was both predictable and bland. Proving that you can have the appearance of an amazing film, but in the end substance still plays a key role.