Without Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War flopped at the North American box office, grossing $20.1 million from 3,792 theaters despite a net budget of $115 million.
Rather, The Jungle Book remained king of the multiplex as it raced past the $500 million mark globally. The film continued to defy expectations its second weekend, falling a scant 41 percent to $60.8 million from 4,028 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $191.5 million.
Overseas, Jungle Book roared to another $96 million for a foreign total of $337 million and global haul of $528.5 million. Huntsman took in $32.1 million offshore for a foreign total of $80.2 million (it began rolling out internationally two weeks ago) and global cume of $100.3 million.
Jungle Book’s performance further solidifies Disney’s prowess in spinning classic tales into live-action tentpoles. Other studios are having a much harder go of it, including Universal. In the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman, 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, as well Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain.
The move didn’t pay off. Huntsman came in more than 64 percent behind the domestic debut of Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million), and marks the latest disappointment for Chris Hemsworth who, outside of playing Thor, hasn’t clicked as a leading man.
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 indie films debuted 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, took in an estimated $1.1 million to come in No. 10 or No. 11. Elvis & Nixon, rolling out in 381 theaters, grossed an estimated $470,000.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Barbershop: The Next Cut placed No. 3 in its second weekend after Jungle Book and Huntsman with a projected $10 million, followed by Zootopia and The Boss.