The industry heads at Paramount have greenlit a follow-up to January’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters after the film recently surpassed $200 million at the global box office. Tommy Wirkola’s reinterpretation of the classic fairytale was greeted with mixed reviews both critically and commercially last month, but the studio is pushing ahead with the film’s sequel regardless.
It’s a news story not many expected, in truth. An opening weekend of $19 million is hardly considered a blockbuster hit, plus, the month of January has become known as the cinematic lull for releases in the wake of the annual Oscars’ zenith. More to the point, the studio itself pushed the film from its initial March 2012 release to January 2013, a decision which many interpreted as showing a lack of confidence in the production. Nonetheless, the successful financial turnout gave Paramount the impetus they needed, but will the studio stretch the already outlandish premise too thin with a sequel?
When you consider the talent behind Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, you have to wonder why the film failed to come together as planned. Yes, the revisionist take pushed the boat out a little too far; but it still boasted a solid cast and crew. With Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner playing the titular siblings and Norwegian director Wirkola behind the camera, on paper it seemed the film had potential.
Although, what seems great in theory is often misjudged in practice. Bombastic, ludicrous and downright annoying are just some of the not-so-kind adjectives ascribed to the film and with a current standing of 15% over on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was understandably labelled a flop. Despite this, the fact that Hollywood has immersed itself in fairytale lore following the resounding success of Snow White & The Huntsman last year – which itself amassed $400 million worldwide – the trend of reimagining fairytales has suddenly become in vogue. Because if there’s one thing Tinsel Town loves, it’s a bankable trend.
Details remain scarce on the ground hitherto – almost certain breadcrumbs on a certain forest path, you could say – and the only confirmed news is the return of Gary Sanchez Productions as a producer. In saying that, you would imagine the sequel’s fate rests on the return of Renner and Arterton which, realistically speaking seems unlikely.
Who knows, perhaps the two actors wouldn’t mind a witch-hunting family reunion. However, what’s your opinion on Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters? Do you feel the siblings should hang up their medieval weaponry? Or do you believe there’s life in this potential franchise yet?
Let us know in the comments!