Universal’s “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” most likely won’t live up to its predecessor “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which debuted to $56.2 million when it opened in 2012.
Instead, the prequel in which Kristen Stewart doesn’t star is tracking for $20 million to $25 million, according to analysts. That’s less than half of the first movie, and bad reviews and bad timing are partly to blame for its lower tracking.
It’s important to note, however, that the budget for the prequel is significantly lower than that of “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The first film had a budget of $170 million, while the new film was produced on a $115 million budget.
The fantasy movie follows the war between Evil Queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron, and her little sister, the Ice Queen (Blunt). The Ice Queen raises an army of soldiers with one rule: they can’t fall in love. But Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sarah (Jessica Chastain) do, much to the dismay of the Ice Queen, but they must put their differences aside to fight Ravenna.
So why will “The Huntsman” make significantly less its opening weekend than its predecessor? See five reasons below.
1. No Kristen Stewart … and No Snow White
Kristen Stewart starring as Snow White was the main draw for many people going to see the 2012 film, as Stewart’s fanbase grew tremendously after “Twilight.” Now that she isn’t starring in the prequel, fans are opting out. Moreover, there is no Snow White in a movie that is somewhat related to the original fairytale. In fact, there is no Snow White flashback (or flash forward) in the new film, either, we just briefly hear about how well things are going in her happy kingdom.
The first film was unique in the sense that it was a female-driven action fantasy film. That element is now gone, and many critics are describing the film as a “Game of Thrones,” “Frozen,” and J. R. R. Tolkien mashup instead.
2. It’s a Prequel
Prequels are hard to sell in general and it’s very difficult to the match the original one, says BoxOffice.com’s senior analyst, Shawn Robbins. Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, added, “any suspense is gone out the window. For example, we know that Charlize Theron survives, because she’s in the next movie.”
3. Chris Hemsworth Doesn’t Attract Audiences
The flop of “In the Heart of the Sea” proved that Chris Hemsworth doesn’t necessarily draw people to the movie theaters. Produced on a $100 million budget, it only made $25 million domestically and $93.8 million worldwide. “Blackhat” didn’t even crack $10 million. “Rush” made $26.9 million on a budget of $45 million. Of course, when he’s part of the Avengers cast, he makes bank, but when Hemsworth doesn’t don his God/superhero costume, he isn’t attractive to moviegoers.
4. It’s Sandwiched Between Two Huge Blockbusters
Disney’s “The Jungle Book” opened last week to a whopping $103 million. Given its stellar word of mouth, the film will do solid work at the box office in its second weekend, with experts only anticipating a 45 percent drop for the Jon Favreau-directed film.
“No one will go see ‘The Huntsman’ because ‘Jungle Book’ is the main attraction,” Bock said.
Two weeks after “Huntsman” opens, one of the biggest movies of the year is hitting theaters: “Captain America: Civil War.” The third film in the franchise is looking at a massive $200 million opening. Even Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele‘s “Keanu,” debuting next weekend, is likely to storm past “Huntsman” with a projected $19 million debut, according to BoxOffice.com. A huge percent drop-off for “Huntsman” is extremely likely.
5. Bad Reviews
Reviews have been anything but good. Currently scoring 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are attacking the film’s mixed target audience and lack of a plot line.
“The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ is all fairly silly, but unfortunately the filmmakers don’t quite realize it — along with banning love, decent gags seem to have been outlawed, too,” wrote TheWrap film critic Jason Solomons.