Snow White Avenges Battleship Loss for Universal
By John Hamann
June 3, 2012
So we know now that Snow White and the Huntsman over-performed slightly over weekend, but its future success is in doubt. Why? While the release date certainly helped Snow White, casting Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth likely made the weekend bigger than expected. While in my mind Charlize Theron makes a much better Snow White, Kristen Stewart does bring the Twilight crew despite the "I just put the crack pipe away" look. Had I put my hard earned cash down for this one, I would be cheering for Theron's villain; however, millions of teen girls likely feel the opposite. As much I would rather forget, we need to remember that the Twilight franchise has earned over a billion at the domestic box office alone, and does have the huge, seemingly insatiable fan following. Stewart has never drawn her fans into her other movies – but at the same time, shr hasn't strayed into blockbusters, choosing to stick with more arthouse fare (Adventureland, The Runaways). Chris Hemsworth is a star on the rise, and this opening weekend only pads his resume. The star of Thor, co-star of The Avengers, and James Kirk's dad in that explosive opening scene of the Star Trek reboot is developing a huge following, and that following will only grow in November when Red Dawn comes out.
While the casting made for a strong opening frame, the director and writers will kill the legs. Had Universal found a better name than Rupert Sanders – who only had commercials to his credit before this $170 million production – the film may have earned a quality cred with audiences. Unfortunately for Universal, this is not the case. In the end, Snow White and the Huntsman might be a $150 million film stateside, but will need to earn at least that overseas for this one to be profitable. In North America, next weekend brings the R-rated Prometheus and the animated Madagascar 3, neither of which face directly into the Snow White competitive demographic. These two high-profile films will, however, take over 7,700 venues, meaning Snow White will have to work hard just to get noticed, and it would appear that Universal spent the marketing wad on the opening. For Universal, I see the entire Snow White and the Huntsman process as just another film in the Universal library, with not much of a profit or a loss.
Speaking of losses, Men in Black 3 managed to stay ahead of Marvel's The Avengers, at least for another weekend. After a three-day holiday weekend take of $54.6 million, and a four-day of $69.3 million, that's about where the good news is going to end for MIB3. In its second weekend, Men in Black 3 earned $29.3 million, off 46% from the previous frame. With revenue down this weekend, there is a further concern that Sony spent more on this one than they are letting on. Some have the MIB3 budget at $220 or $225 million; however, industry rumour has this one at $290 million or higher, which means it's going to have to work harder at home and abroad to realize a profit for Sony.
The holiday helped, as MIB3 was able to cross the $100 million mark on Saturday, its eighth day. That's the same amount of time it took Men in Black 2 to do the same amount in 2002, and that one went on to earn $190 million stateside and $250 million overseas. MIB2 fell a similar 53% in weekend two, so there is reason to believe that MIB3 could be following that trend (my early estimate is $170 million in domestic sales). So far, MIB3 has earned $112.3 million stateside, and over $150 million from overseas theatres. Like Snow White and the Huntsman, MIB3 is simply going to be a very expensive push.