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Universal’s live-action fairy-tale prequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War flopped Friday at the North American box office, opening to $7.3 million — 64 percent behind Snow White and the Huntsman.
The movie, with a net budget of $115 million and playing in 3,791 locations, is now looking at a dismal domestic debut in the $20 million range, compared to $56.2 million for Snow White.
Rather, it’s Disney’s The Jungle Book that remains king of the multiplex. The film continues to defy expectations, grossing a stellar $16.6 million on Friday for a possible weekend north of $60 million. Through Thursday, Jungle Book has earned north of $377 million at the global box office.
The Huntsman is this weekend’s only new nationwide release, and stars Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt. In the 2012 film, Kristen Stewart starred as Snow White. Instead of making a sequel to that film, Universal decided to go in a different direction, banking on Hemsworth’s star power.
The Huntsman 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 ravaged by critics, not helping matters. Audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore.
Joe Roth produced Huntsman: Winter’s War, which is directed by first-time feature helmer Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who worked as a visual effects supervisor on Snow White.
A pair of high-profile films are opening at the specialty box office; Amazon Studios’ Elvis & Nixon, starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey, and A Hologram for a King, starring Tom Hanks.
Hologram for a King, playing in 401 theaters, looks to earn north of $1.1 million in its debut. Elvis and Nixon, rolling out in 381 theaters, may not cross $500,000.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Barbershop: The Next Cut will come in No. 3 in its second weekend after Jungle Book and Huntsman with a projected $10 million weekend, followed by Zootopia and The Boss.
April 22, 12:30 p.m. Updated.
April 23, 7:15 a.m. Updated.
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