Universal Gets Rolling On ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ Sequel

EXCLUSIVE: Studios are relying heavily on sequels this summer, but the toughest thing to do is to introduce something new that launches a franchise. It looks like Universal has done that with Snow White And The Huntsman. I’m told that the studio is making all the moves that indicate another chapter is in the offing, and on a fast track.

Universal commenced David Koepp to write the sequel script, which Deadline revealed in late April might happen. The studio is now talking with director Rupert Sanders about a return, after he made his feature directing debut on the first installment. Sanders is interested; he had a great time making the first movie. But unlike most first time directors, he doesn’t have to come back. That’s because Snow White And The Huntsman was sold in an auction by CAA that included a presentation by Sanders of how he was going to shoot the film. Sanders was part of the package, as was producer Joe Roth, and that gave the agency leverage to make a much better deal than a first timer usually gets. The filmmaker is in demand now, but he hasn’t chosen his next film and a sequel might well be it. I understand that the actors in the film have options for two sequels, so that part of the equation shouldn’t be too difficult.

While there were plenty of potshots taken by journalists at Universal and its executives in expectation that Snow White and the Huntsman would suffer the same under-performing fate as Battleship, the film way outperformed its advance tracking for a $56 million opening weekend. It has continued to play during the week and has done $118 million worldwide. It still needs to perform in the next few grueling weeks, considering the film’s costs pegged at a reported $170 million, but there is an opportunity here to make a better film with the sequel. The first film got rushed when Relativity Media hired Julia Roberts and pressed ahead with Mirror Mirror. Relativity burned its bridges with Universal to rush out a film that wasn’t worth it, and Universal also hurried its film. Paying Koepp his fat fee (his franchise scripts include Spider-Man, Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible) indicates the studio will try to make the most of that opportunity, particularly with no reason to rush this time.

Comments (78)

  • I don’t have time to post, because I’m currently scurrying to finish writing the sequel to “Howard the Duck”.

    Comment by CynicalCritic — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:25pm PDT  
    • Howard the Duck bombing references are so cliche. This could be a great trilogy.

      Comment by Joe — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:46pm PDT  
  • What am I missing here? The first is doing ok, but they should listen to audiences. It sucked.

    Comment by Arthur — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:44pm PDT  
    • Actually a majority of the audience loved it hence why they’re probably doing another sequel. You can’t just read the negative reviews and dismiss the positive ones

      Comment by bailey — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:15pm PDT  
      • Just curious if you saw the film? I did, and it was beautiful, but soulless and predictable. Makes one realize WILLOW was underrated.

        However, I can’t argue with the modest (but real) success box office, so a sequel makes sense. Hopefully they will take their time with the script and improve on the first.

        Comment by Huh — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:29pm PDT  
        • I also totally got a Willow vibe from it! If only Snow White had been as good as that…

          Comment by cinephilactic — Friday June 8, 2012 @ 6:43am PDT  
          • I got more of a ‘Legend’ vibe from the film; the lush fairy realm, the darkness of the forest.
            Let’s look at the parallels:
            Huntsman = Jack the Forest Child
            Dwarves = Dwarves
            Snow White = Lilly
            The Evil Queen = Darkness
            The Queen’s Brother tracking S.W. = Blix tracking Lilly

            Comment by Sully — Wednesday June 20, 2012 @ 9:43am PDT  
          • I agree, it did have a Willow and Legend vibe, the only difference is that those stories were INTERESTING. Charlize Theron was the ONLY good thing about this movie. It just kept dragging on and on. Plus, with it being Snow White, you expect SOME romance. I mean come on! The only kiss was the one that raised her from the dead and she wasn’t even a part of that.

            I mean sure, it did well at the box office, BUT that was because of the K-Stew factor. All the Twi-hards rushed out to see Bella. I went to see it because of Thor, I find Chris Hemsworth to be quite hot. But even he couldn’t make this movie memorable. On a scale of 1-10, I give this movie a 4 – great visuals, great villain, horrible plot line, terrible heroine. She was supposed to be empowering to women, right? So why did I feel so bleh about her character when I left?

            Come on Hollywood, use your big brain to think and not your wallet. Make a REAL Snow White movie so we can all find our happily ever after.

            Comment by Sydney — Wednesday July 25, 2012 @ 8:31am PDT  
          • hope they make the sequel feel abit more like “pans labyrinth” mixed with some Christopher Nolan style of psychological story and gritty scenes… cant wait!

            Comment by Tracky Rivera — Sunday September 9, 2012 @ 10:25am PDT  
      • The movie received a “B” Cinemascore. That is not a majority of the audience loving the movie, sadly.

        Comment by Anonymous — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:00pm PDT  
      • it got a b from cinemascore, so it was so-so.

        Comment by joker — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:14pm PDT  
        • B is above average it’s a C grade that is so-so. Not every film is going to do over 500m domestic. But of course they could spend that next 170M on a whole bunch of Indie films that no one will want to see.

          Comment by masanissa — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:40pm PDT  
          • You obviously don’t know much about cinemascore, a B is not very good, C is terrible, D/F is very rare. Don’t think of it like high school grades, it’s on a different scale. I would say B/B+ is average, so getting a B certainly doesn’t mean a movie is beloved and deserving of a sequel, not that cinemascores really mean diddly when an exec is deciding whether or not green light a sequel. If it makes decent money it will get a sequel, if it barely breaks even or loses it won’t, in the vast majority of cases for high budget fare.

            Comment by robert — Saturday June 9, 2012 @ 11:28pm PDT  
    • I’m not saying a sequel is a good idea (it might in fact do terribly) but quality of one film does not necessarily mean people won’t go see the next film in the series. Transformers is a perfect example. The second one was terrible (on pretty much every level) and most people agree with that statement. However people still turned out in droves to see the third (in fact the third did better than the second!)

      Comment by Anthony — Friday June 8, 2012 @ 11:38am PDT  
  • Great visuals. Abysmal story. Waste of Charlize. Why keep the most dynamic actress stuck in one room yelling at the walls? In one scene she vapor-crow-izes out of the castle to take on Snow – why didn’t she do that to begin with? What was up with the dang milk bath? And just a big ol why her when it comes to the 8th dwarf, Mopey Stewart. Suffice to say this time after saying “wow this vfx shot is going to look so cool” perhaps the director and writer will move on to the next thought of “how can we make the story better/match this shot”.

    Comment by IJustGottaSay — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:47pm PDT  
    • Mopey Stewart, that’s funny…

      Comment by haha — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:58pm PDT  
    • I have to say, I don’t get all the stuff about how Kristen Stewart’s performance was mopey. Yes, there are other things people could criticize but mopey? Snow White was supposed to have been locked in a tower and then was stuck with a drunk guide. She obviously wasn’t supposed to be all la da da butterflies and rainbows. She seemed perfectly happy and joyful when it came to the CGI butterflies and forest creatures. The main problem was the shitty, horrific script that gave none of the characters any dimensions except perhaps the Evil Queen.

      Comment by E — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:52pm PDT  
    • Charlize didn’t go attack Snow White in the first place because she couldn’t – she clearly stated in the movie that her powers didn’t work in the dark forest. When she attacked Snow White, she was already past and out of the dark forest, so Charlize’s powers still applied. She finally just went in herself because she was getting older and older, waiting for Snow White to be captured.

      As for the bath, I think that was to really illustrate just how obsessed Charlize was with beauty and youthfulness. The bath scene was dramatic because it was meant to be dramatic. Yes, some can argue that it wasn’t necessary or needed, but it was visually beautiful and made sense.

      …Kristen Stewart? To be honest, I didn’t really understand that one either, seeing as Snow White is supposed to be portrayed as happy and full of life, while Stewart tends to only work one facial expression (i.e. Twilight). But, I was surprised by how much I liked her as the character. Still not the perfect fit, but decent nonetheless.

      Hopefully the sequel (if they so choose to make one) will show growth in Stewart’s acting, though I’m so sad to imagine a sequel without Charlize.

      Comment by Anonymous — Friday June 15, 2012 @ 3:33pm PDT  
  • Why is deadline being so kind to this film?

    It stil underperformed. A film with a budget of $170m needs at least an 80m opening. Yes, it did better than they thought- but they lowered expectations to begin with.

    You guys trash MIB3 (I don’t care for either film) but it will outgross Snow White with the universal appeal for Big Willie.

    We are still in a slump. Had Snow White been made for half that (which it should have), then this would be a success story.

    Hopefully they can do some kiddie merchandising to bring in additional revenue.

    Comment by Will! — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:50pm PDT  
    • SWATH didn’t open in as many theaters nor did it have the advantage of 3D sales.

      It’s international debut was also bigger than “The Hunger Games”. So, I suspect that’s what the all the fuss is about.

      Comment by nope — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:35pm PDT  
    • Um, no genius. MIB3 WILL NOT outgross Snow White….and cost 250 million….its a DISASTER. I suspect you work at Sony and are just trying to take a potshot at Uni….Uni launched a new franchise…SONY is going to have an AWFUL Summer (Spiderman reboot? Please) Deal with it, moron.

      Comment by sonique — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 7:18pm PDT  
      • Globally, MIB3 will outgross SWATH by at least $100m but PROMETHEUS will show them who is the BOSS. Just check all the numbers on Monday.

        Comment by SonicTheHedgeHog — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 7:52pm PDT  
      • Explain to me how Snow White and the Huntsman is a success? It has to do at least 400 to even think about profitability and it won’t. Universal isn’t having the best luck this summer.

        Comment by plainandsimple — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:06pm PDT  
      • Deal with what, exactly? Considering I said I don’t care for either film means I work at Sony? And yes, Universal on fire with both Battleship and Snow White. My bad.

        I’m just saying it seems certain films are torn apart more than others.

        MIB will do 500-550 whether you like it or not.

        Snow White will do 400 if it’s lucky.

        So deal with it dumbass.

        Comment by Anonymous — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:14pm PDT  
      • You need to get the numbers right. MIB’s budget is only 225 million, not 250 million that you quoted. And it has made over 427 million worldwide in just 2 weeks whereas SWATH only made 118 million worldwide in one week. I don’t see SWATH making another 309 million worldwide this week which is the difference to catch up to MIB’s second week box office. So why are people acting like SWATH is doing better than MIB when the numbers indicate the opposite?

        Comment by numbers — Friday June 8, 2012 @ 8:43am PDT  
  • Wow, I’m sure with David Koepp behind the typewriter they won’t get a completely dated, by-the-numbers story.

    Comment by jer — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:01pm PDT  
  • Wow. Studio Execs must be really stupid these days. So what if it made more than expected opening weekend? Shouldn’t they be deciding this after what the second weekend looks like? Word of mouth is not good. Only a ‘B’ cinemascore. Plus Prometheus will dominate this weekend. I came out of Snow White & the Huntsman with a “MEH.” First this on my mind wasn’t, “I can’t wait for the sequel!”

    Comment by Walter — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:02pm PDT  
    • I agree, its was meh , an epic fail , give it a C for effort, kristen was boring , charlize carried the movie, the story was dragging.

      Comment by anti — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:31pm PDT  
    • Dumb decisions like this are the main reason the industry is in so much trouble. Myself I’m giving the industry maybe another ten years to run itself into the ground before the major internet shakeup comes ( likely as not run offered by apple ) The next decade is going to be fun to watch for everyone except anyone connected to the current business model :-)

      Comment by james zuppicich — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:25pm PDT  
  • If they decide on a sequel, can the bad writing and shaky camera movement be gotten rid off. Also cast a new Snow White. The franchise could be big- it simply needs retuning.

    Comment by Anonymous — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:28pm PDT  
    • Yes, that makes sense, get rid of the girl that got butts in seats in the first place, and let the Charlize fans carry the day – afterall, they’ve always been there for her before over the last 15 years whenever she’s opened the big blockbusters that she’s headlined…..oh, wait. Nevermind.

      Comment by fookoff — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 10:46pm PDT  
  • I’m very proud of my old studio. Here’s what I want to see. These are the sequels we will make. A new sequel released every summer. :)

    Snow White and the Moon Men

    The Huntsman Goes to Mars

    The Evil Queen Meets The Mummy

    Faster and Furiouser: Snow White

    The Huntsman Meets Frankenstein

    Snow White vs. Atomic Dracula

    Cowboys & Aliens & Snow White

    Battleship 2: Mirror Mirror

    Now let’s get to work on these they’re all great I can’t wait!

    Comment by Lew Wasserman's Ghost — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:33pm PDT  
    • SNOW WHITE vs. ATOMIC DRACULA actually sounds pretty awesome. I’ll buy a ticket.

      Comment by 100stones3x — Friday June 8, 2012 @ 10:19am PDT  
  • Funny how people trashing it refer to Rotten Tomatoes critics score (46%) but not the audience score (74%). Anything to bolster their bias of a Bella Sw-oops, I mean Kristen Stewart-led film right? Anyway Movie Review Intelligence is a much better database, with 65% approval. Flawed film but still better than most summer films out of Hollywood these days. Preferred Kristen’s performance over Charlize’s, more nuanced. She did exactly what this Snow White was envisioned to be, just the right amount of innocence, vulnerability, kindness and toughness when she needed to be. I laughed when the Queen died. For a first-time director, however I was impressed overall.

    Comment by Kay — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:33pm PDT  
    • Totally agree. Who cares about the critics? The vast majority of those who saw it liked it. Plus, there is so much potential for an even bigger and better sequel, and I for one am really excited for it. And to everyone who criticizes Kristen Stewart’s acting: have you never heard of subtlety?

      Comment by Drew — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:53pm PDT  
    • In general, people ignore user data because it’s self-selecting and, consequentially, so biased as be utterly useless. Voluntary response data are worthless.

      Comment by Oliver — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 8:36pm PDT  
    • Another interesting item on Rottentomatoes is the “top critics” actually were 62% positive in reviewing the film. This seems to indicate that the more influential critics generally enjoyed the movie. This fact shouldn’t be overlooked.

      Comment by Jzyz — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 10:32pm PDT  
      • 62% is better than the overall average but a ringing critics endorsement ranges between the high 80s and ends with 100%. 62% is not enjoyment. It’s a polite “meh”.

        Comment by Sally — Friday June 8, 2012 @ 6:11am PDT  
    • The audience score is rigged by Kristen fans giving it a high score before they even saw the movie.

      Comment by x — Friday June 8, 2012 @ 7:16am PDT  
  • Comparing this film (2D, first time director, grim, no big name player like Johnny Depp) to Alice in Wonderland (3D, uplifting, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton) was just dumb. You know what’s that they were going for when they greenlighted the big ass budget. Why wasn’t the budget set at something like $100-$120 mil? A $56 mil opening would have been good, even excellent, with a lower budget. Look at Thor and Captain America…both films made around $65 mil opening weekend, and I believe Thor had the benefit of 3D. However, both Thor and Captain America had the benefit of being a good thirty, forty million dollars cheaper and Thor had legs. I also don’t understand why they had to film the entire movie in England…it would have been way cheaper to film in Vancouver.

    Comment by E — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 6:45pm PDT  
    • England has all those cool, medieval looking sites. Maybe it could have been produced more cheaply but the location choice was worth spending big on

      Comment by American — Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 7:19pm PDT  
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