Snow White and the Huntsman: Great Summer Treat, But No Hit
Snow White and the Huntsman is opening to great fan fare and anticipation, with both audiences and filmmakers expecting great things from the special effects, high action take on the well-known and beloved fairytale. However, I’m afraid both may be expecting a little too much. Especially since its rival production, Mirror Mirror fared poorly last March making about $18 million upon its opening and just $62 million all together domestically (nowadays that’s considered low). And the studios other visual effects laden film of the summer, Battleship pretty much sank upon its release. Then add in the factor that the movie’s imdb.com popularity rating has been steadily dropping the last few weeks. These signs suggest that what the film has to offer may not be enough to make it the box office smash it was designed to be.
I’m not saying the extremely well produced production is going to fail. In fact, having seen the film last weekend at a sneak peek screening provided by The American Cinematheque I can say that it does live up to the hype. It’s a beautifully made film that’s well worth the price of admission, even at LA prices. That being said, Snow White and the Huntsman lacks sticking power. Meaning that I really enjoyed the film while I was in the theater, but pretty much forgot it once I was back in the real world. So, it’s bound to make a lot of money initially, but it seems unlikely it will be the summer’s biggest box office winner even though it sports an impressive cast and a spectacular look.
I had the same problem with last summer’s Super 8. Like the J.J. Abrams’ film, Snow White and the Huntsman suffers from a great story that at times is poorly executed. In this case the movie is very repetitive when it comes to certain plot points. After all, how many times do we have to demonstrate the power of Snow White’s inner and outer beauty? And is it necessary to have the evil queen’s brother fail in his quest again and again, and in the same way? Both points are way over played. And why don’t we get to spend more time with the Dwarfs? I’ll trade one of the brother’s failed attempts for more Dwarfs. And don’t get me started on the quick dismissal of the kiss that brings Snow White back to life. In my opinion it is not addressed properly because the filmmakers are setting us up for a sequel. In short, the film falls short of satisfying the qualities required to make it a movie audiences want to see again and again.
Since the disappointment of Battleship, the studio has reassessed its opening weekend prediction, and is setting it in the low to mid $30 million range. Apparently, the strength of that prediction relies upon whether or not men chose to see Snow White and the Huntsman over whatever else is out there. Being the only new wide release of the weekend, the prospects are good, but then Men In Black III just opened last weekend and that’s a guys picture if I ever saw one. And of course, The Avengers is also still in theaters. With two films that are highly appealing to men, already a part of a successful franchise and worthy of repeat viewings, audiences may chose to see what they already know they like. And that’s how blockbusters are made.