With the success of Disney’s live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, Hollywood studios have begun to pour money into remakes of classic fairytales. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, the frequent collaborators managed to create a billion dollar blockbuster and birthed a new trend in Hollywood to remake classic fairytales. Disney is now planning on making a live-action version of Sleeping Beauty entitled Maleficent, which will star Angelina Jolie as the evil title character. Warner Bros. is releasing Jack the Giant Killer next March, which will be helmed by former X-Men and The Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer. Also coming soon is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which is being distributed by Paramount next January. The film stars Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia) as Gretel and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as Hansel, who, 15 years after their classic tale, are now bounty hunters who search and kill witches around the world. The fairytale fad has also made its way to television, where the shows Once Upon a Time on ABC and Grimm on NBC have both had very successful freshman seasons.
Whether this trend is here to stay depends heavily on the success of two Snow White film adaptations titled Mirror, Mirror by Relativity and Snow White and the Huntsman, which is being released by Universal. Since both projects were announced over two years ago, Relativity and Universal have been battling each other over release dates and advertising campaigns. Relativity’s adaptation, Mirror, Mirror, was originally planned for a summer release date while Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman had originally planned on a fall release. However, as both studios wanted to release their adaptation first, Mirror, Mirror has jumped all the way up to March 30 and will be going up against the Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill comedy 21 Jump Street. The next week will be followed by what Lionsgate is banking on to be their next big blockbuster: The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence. While the summer is usually known as the best time for blockbusters to be released, Relativity is hoping that some of the magic from Alice in Wonderland’s March release date will carry over to their new fairytale film. Snow White and the Hunstman is now being released on June 1, which sandwiches the film in between two potential huge summer blockbusters – the return of Will Smith in Men in Black 3 and Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction in Prometheus.
While both adaptations are big budget blockbusters that are re-imaginations of the classic fairytale, their style could not be more different. The trailer for Mirror, Mirror portrays the film as whimsical, comedic, bright, cheerful and much more kid-friendly than its competitor. The film’s director Tarsem Singh (Immortals) is known for his beautiful sets and colorful films. Essentially, Mirror, Mirror looks like what you would expect from a children’s fairytale film. Conversely, the trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman has drawn comparisons to Lord of the Rings or the HBO smash hit Game of Thrones, as it seems like a dark and chilling action/ fantasy adventure. The film’s director, Rupert Sanders, is making his feature film debut. His previous work includes a majority of the hit video game Halo’s commercials and numerous Nike basketball commercials. The film is attempting to take the classic fairytale and turn it into a modern epic.
While both films boast excellent casts, the two are very different. Front and center of both films is the Evil Queen, who is played by an Oscar winner in both. In Mirror, Mirror, Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) plays the character as an evil yet still humorous and humane person. Throughout the trailer Roberts is cracking jokes and speaking about love. Her gowns are colorful and beautiful. Charlize Theron (Monster, Hancock) plays the evil Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman and shows no sign of humanity or humor in the trailer, just pure evil. Universal is hoping that Theron’s villainous stare and extreme beauty will create a classic villain who is evil to the core. While Roberts’s character is lightheartedly wicked, Theron’s queen will be as dark and malicious as they come. Playing the title character Snow White in Mirror, Mirror is Lilly Collins (The Blind Side) and in Snow White and the Huntsman is Kristen Stewart (Twilight). Collins’s princess seems much more graceful and beautiful than Stewart’s character. Lastly, the central male figure of Snow White and the Huntsman will be Chris Hemsworth (Thor) playing the Huntsman while Armie Hammer (The Social Network) will be playing Prince Charming in Mirror, Mirror. Hemsworth character seems to be much more violent, aggressive and tough than Hammer’s, who in the trailer is shown to be more of a humorous pretty boy than warrior. Clearly, the films will be very different, but which film will do better at the box office? While the Hollywood Stock Exchange predicts Mirror, Mirror to open with an impressive $60 million dollar weekend in March, the site predicts that Snow White and the Hunstman will open with a box-office weekend of over $110 million and be one of the potential biggest films of the year. How both films do will ultimately hinge on their reviews, but for now, Universal’s adaptation has the heavy lead.
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