Box Office Preview: 'Snow White and the Huntsman' Primed to Take Over Top Spot

Snow White and the Huntsman Kristen Stewart in woods - H 2012
Universal Pictures

Snow White and the Huntsman Kristen Stewart in woods - H 2012

The female-centric fairy tale, starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, should easily eclipse last weekend's champ "Men in Black 3."

It’s Snow White’s turn to test her mettle again at the box office.

Mirror Mirror, Relativity’s campy, comic take on the venerable fairy tale, didn’t cast much of a spell at the multiplex earlier this year. Opening March 30, it collected just $18.1 million on its opening weekend and eventually faded from the scene with just $62.5 million domestically.

PHOTOS: Snow White and the Huntsman Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth

Universal is looking for more than that from Snow White and the Huntsman, which under Rupert Sanders’ direction takes the familiar story in a different direction -- turning it into more of a female-empowerment adventure tale that plays out against an imaginatively designed landscape. At the same time, having seen its Battleship debut to a disappointing $25.5 million two weekends ago, the studio is downplaying expectations for Snow White, produced by Joe Roth and Sam Mercer for about $170 million, predicting an opening weekend in the low- to mid-$30 million range. Others peg it as coming in somewhat higher than that, possibly even entering $40 million-plus territory.

The key is whether males show up in significant numbers. Right now, the film starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth appears to be skewing heavily toward women, though interest among older males has been picking up.

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In any case, Snow White, the only new wide release of the weekend -- it’s opening in 3,772 theaters in North America -- should easily capture the No. 1 spot, coming in ahead of the second weekend of Sony’s Men in Black III, which grossed $54.6 million over the first three days of last weekend’s holiday frame. With MIB3 likely to post about $25 million this round, with the still-powerful The Avengers close behind that, the door is open for a Snow White victory.

The film also will be venturing abroad, where it is opening in 42 territories, including Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Spain and the U.K.