Essays, Reviews, Commentary, and Original Scholarship. A Film Blog that strives to be Art.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Damned if you do, damned if you don't: Universal sells Snow White and the Huntsman as female-empowerment while plotting sequel, sans Snow White.
Despite my misgivings about the current trend of tossing young actresses into the fairy-tale princess box, I must concede that the second trailer to Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman looks like a pretty solid action-adventure (Charlize Theron looks to be having a blast). While I would be shocked if the film did well enough to justify its $175 million budget, there is little reason to presume that it won't be a solid hit in terms of reasonable expectations. In fact, among women, the film tops a recent Fandango poll regarding which would-be summer blockbuster they are more anticipating most with 22% of the vote. So the good news is that if the film is a hit, it will further establish a viable marketplace for female-centric action pictures, which will surely spawn a franchise featuring Kristen Stewart's Snow White doing battle with other various fantastical threats, right? According to Universal COO Ron Meyer, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is indeed interested in doing a sequel if the film is a big enough hit. But said sequel would not focus on Snow White, but rather Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman. So the answer to the prior question is... Nope.
"Meyer said that while the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman doesn’t appear to lend itself to a sequel, Universal thinks it can do more movies based on the character of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) if it is successful."
That's nice... So the film is heavily-anticipated by female audiences, arguably somewhat based on the star power of Kristen Stewart (who hasn't had a mainstream test of her box office bankability since the Twilight Saga started). The film is being sold as a Snow White-as action hero-re-imagining of the classic fairy tale. And if it flops or under-performs, pundits will surely point the finger at Stewart and/or the meme that mainstream audiences won't flock to female-driven fantasy films, Hunger Games be damned. But if it's a hit, Stewart still doesn't get a franchise because Universal wants to focus on the strapping male heartthrob instead. In short, Universal is partially selling the film as a female-centric fantasy adventure, with all the 'female empowerment' memes that go along with that, meanwhile plotting in the back of their offices to ditch Snow White for the later films even if it becomes a hit. I'm presuming I don't need to explain what's disconcerting about that.