The Huntsman: Winter's War
|Budget: $115 million||Financed by: Universal; Perfect World Pictures|
|Domestic Gross: $48,003,015||Domestic Distributor: Universal|
|Overseas Gross: $116,599,1486|
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Produced by: Joe Roth
After the solid $396.5 million worldwide cume of its predecessor, The Huntsman: Winter’s War began development with director Frank Darabont in January 2014 and creative differences led to his departing the project in January 2015. Universal kept the April 22, 2016 release date and a few days later hired Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who was the vfx supervisor of the first installment to helm the picture. Universal landed a $500 million slate financing deal with China based Perfect World Pictures, which would cover co-financing of 50 films or last 5 years and invest up to 25% revenue participation on projects. The Huntsman was the first film released under this arrangement and its budget is reported at $115 million.
Universal gave the film an expensive domestic marketing spend, with over $30 million just in national TV spots and millions more in print, online, poster, radio, booking fees, etc. The Huntsman: Winter’s War was the only wide release scheduled for April 22, but it was tracking softly up to its release and it would be competing for auds against the over-performing The Jungle Book, which was released the week before. The Huntsman received mostly awful reviews and was estimated to pull in $25 million over its first weekend, but came in below expectations with $19,445,035 — placing #2 for the weekend led by the Disney hit. Showing poor legs, the pic lost half its audience in its second frame, declining 50.5% to $9,619,300 despite none of the new releases (Keanu, Mother’s Day or Ratchet & Clank) competing for a similar audience. The Huntsman took a 58.9% third frame tumble to $3,948,835 when Captain America: Civil War opened and siphoned it’s remaining audience. It closed its domestic run with a poor $48,003,015. Universal would see back about $26.4 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover P&A expenses.
Overseas, The Huntsman: Winter’s War was released in most markets two weeks before its domestic bow, to give it some breathing room before Civil War began its overseas rollout. Early estimates pegged the overseas total near $150 million, since it landed a coveted China release with Perfect World Pictures distributing, but it underperformed in the Middle Kingdom opening with $10.5 million. It was pulled from most of its theaters in its second week to give screens to local fare and has cumed only $16.9 million. The overseas total stalled at $116.5 million with China posting the highest gross. The pic is estimated to end as a write-down north of $30 million. Producer Joe Roth saw another unwanted fantasy sequel, Alice Through The Looking Glass post awful numbers just 6 weeks later.