Nearly four years after the original performed above expectations at the box office, the dark fairy tale sequel The Huntsman Winter’s War invades theaters next weekend and hopes to reach the levels of its predecessors. That could turn out to a fairy tale wish for Universal Pictures.
In the summer of 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman cast Kristen Stewart (still hot off the Twilight franchise) as the former title character with Liam Hemsworth costarring as the latter. Charlize Theron also was in the mix as the Evil Queen alongside Sam Chaflin and Nick Frost. Everyone with the exception of Stewart is back with Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain included this time around. Snow White director Rupert Sanders has been replaced with Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.
While reviews for the original were mixed, it blasted out of the gate with a $56 million opening weekend and $155 million eventual domestic gross. Yet its reviews practically look glowing compared to this follow-up. Snow White ended up with 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. Winter’s War currently sits at just 18%. Even audiences who went to see the predecessor gave it only a middling “B” Cinemascore grade.
This begs the question: are audiences clamoring for this sequel, which reportedly cost $115 million to produce? I suspect the answer is no. Winter’s War arrives during the second weekend of The Jungle Book, which should still be doing big business and two weeks before the juggernaut likely to be Captain America: Civil War. This could be somewhat lost in the shuffle.
I believe this will struggle to make even half of what Snow White made during its roll-out and will end up as a large-scale disappointment that many moviegoers won’t be bashful about sleeping on.
The Huntsman Winter’s War opening weekend prediction: $26.3 million