Universal’s big-budget fairy tale falls flat in another miss for actor Chris Hemsworth; Tom Hanks’ ‘A Hologram for the King’ easily beats ‘Elvis & Nixon’ at the specialty box office.
Without Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War flopped at the North American box office over the weekend, grossing $20.1 million from 3,792 theaters despite a net budget of $115 million.
The Jungle Book, on the other hand, remained king of the multiplex as it raced past the $500 million mark globally. The Jon Favreau-directed film continued to defy expectations in its second weekend, falling a scant 41 percent to $60.8 million from 4,028 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $191.5 million.
And overseas, The Jungle Book roared to another $96 million from 53 territories for a foreign total of $337 million and global haul of $528.5 million, including a hearty $97.4 million in China and $28.8 million in India, the top gross of all time for a Hollywood title. By comparison, TheHuntsman took in $32.1 million from 64 markets for a sluggish foreign total of $80.2 million (it began rolling out internationally two weeks ago) and global cume of $100.3 million. The Huntsman debuted in China to $11.1 million, behind The Jungle Book and a local film.
The Jungle Book‘s performance further solidifies Disney’s prowess in spinning classic tales into live-action tentpoles. Other studios are having a much harder go of it, including Universal. In the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman, Stewart starred as Snow White. Instead of making a sequel to that pic, Universal decided to go in a different direction, banking on Chris Hemsworth’s star power, as well as that of Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain.
The move didn’t pay off. The Huntsman came in more than 64 percent behind the domestic debut of Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million), and marks the latest disappointment for Hemsworth, who, outside of playing Thor, hasn’t clicked as a leading man. Both Blackhat and In the Heart of the Sea were big-budget misses, while Rush stalled in the U.S.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is set before the events of Snow White and the Huntsman and centers on Hemsworth’s Huntsman and fellow warrior Sara (Chastain), who team up with Ravenna’s (Theron) sister Freya (Blunt) against the wicked witch. The female-skewing event film has been savaged by critics, not helping matters. Audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore (the first pic only received a B).
The movie skewed female, at 61 percent. Interestingly, Snow White and the Huntsman played more evenly, with females making up 53 percent of all ticket buyers.
“We had a tremendous group of filmmakers and actors who made a beautiful action-packed film based on a fairy-tale universe,” said Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou. “Frankly, we would have loved to see more people buy tickets to see it, but there’s no denying the quality of the film and the quality of the performances.”
Joe Roth produced The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which was directed by first-time feature helmer Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who worked as a visual effects supervisor on Snow White.
A pair of high-profile indie films debuted at the specialty box office: Amazon Studios’ Elvis & Nixon, starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey, and A Hologram for the King, starring Tom Hanks.
Hologram, playing in 401 theaters, took in an estimated $1.2 million to come in No. 10 for Roadside Attractions and Saban Films. Elvis & Nixon, rolling out in 381 theaters, grossed an estimated $470,000 for Amazon and partner Bleecker Street.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Barbershop: The Next Cut placed No. 3 in its second weekend, declining 46 percent to $10.8 million for a domestic total of $36 million for New Line and MGM.
Disney’s Zootopia remained a powerhouse, coming in No. 4 with $6.6 million for a domestic total of $316.4 million. Better yet, the animated hit passed the $900 million mark globally, finishing Sunday with $907.1 million.
Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss rounded out the top five, grossing $6.1 million for a domestic cume of $49.3 million. Internationally, the R-rated comedy has earned $8.2 million for a global cume of $57.5 million.
by Pamela McClintock