Weekend Forecast for June 1-3, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
June 1, 2012
The blazing start to summer with The Avengers' record breaking box office had some thinking we might be for a summer movie season for the ages. Except it's now four weeks in, and we're still waiting for our second real hit, and I'm not sure this week looks a lot better in that way.
In another of Hollywood's great “dueling concepts” moments, this week sees the second film this year based on the Snow White story, this time called Snow White and the Huntsman, following this spring's Mirror Mirror. Where that film took a bizarre comic tone, this film plays it deadly serious, with battle set pieces and dark and foreboding scenes of witchcraft and death, something more akin to Braveheart or Lord of the Rings than “whistle while you work."
Kristen Stewart stars as the title damsel, opposite the evil queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron. Placed in context of “who is fairest of them all”, as the story famously goes, this can only inspire comments of “Oh, come on! Squinty McStonerface vs a living Greek Goddess?”, but this is the cast we're left with. Chris Hemsworth, recently of Avengers, plays the Huntsman sent to dispatch Stewart, but who eventually becomes her defender against giant warriors made of birds. I'm sure this all made sense in the pitch.
A gothic action movie version of a fairy tale is actually kind of a good idea, in the right hands. Unfortunately we have no idea if these are the right hands or not. The director, one Rupert Sanders, appears to have dropped out of thin air this year, with no other creative credits to his name. The first listed writer likewise only has one short film to his name, though two of the other writers can claim The Blind Side and Drive, among other titles, on their resumes. Whatever skills or flaws this group has or doesn't, the film certainly looks stylish and dynamic, which is why people would be interested in it in the first place. It's left to be seen how much life that disintegration effect has that features so prominently in all the advertising.
Producers are undoubtedly hoping that Hemsworth and Stewart's teen fans follow them over to this new fantasy. Hemsworth is mostly untested as a lead outside of his role as Thor, while Stewart has struggled outside the Twilight series. It might be argued that she's mostly been in roles in smaller movies, but the same problem has dogged Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. It seems that Twilight fans, depressingly, want only Twilight and don't care about the actors so much. As far as Theron, she's been a very inconsistent star over the years, and has been only infrequently in theaters in the last few. Young Adult from last fall was a quiet return to theaters after mostly being away since 2008's Hancock, so right now she's a wild card (though she follows this up in quick succession next week).
All these question marks likely preclude this from being a big breakout, although the studio is probably hoping for a Clash of the Titans type hit. Wrath of the Titans might be more likely. Opening at 3,700 venues, it should see an opening weekend of about $42 million.