Well, it looks like Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters' time in the spotlight isn't up just yet. The R-rated, campy, gory take on the classic children's fairy tale was one of our biggest box office risks of 2013, and against all odds, it seems to have paid off. Despite a disappointing domestic box office return, worldwide success means fans have a second chapter to look forward to.
On the day that the film surpassed the $200 million worldwide box office mark, Paramount has confirmed that a sequel is in development.
Whether you take this as good news or horrifying will largely depend on if you felt the original film did or did not accomplish the goals it set out with. Fans hoping for a well-plotted, Tarantino-esque action flick that didn't bother with romantic subplots or having a 'message' were likely disappointed (read our review), but those hoping for little more than a chance to see some witches get slaughtered and Jeremy Renner doing his best leading-man act may have gotten enough to keep them happy.
Nevertheless, despite an underwhelming $18 million opening weekend (still impressive given the mixed marketing and time of year) the film has continued to bring in cash around the globe. While the quality of the movie fits right in with similar genre actioners like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, its slow but determined crawl to $200 million on a $60-80 million budget means it earned a sequel that the others failed to make worthwhile.
Much of that success is likely due to the film's star power relative to other flawed fairy tale adaptations, and among the likes of Jack the Giant Slayer, a fairy tale movie aimed at blood-and-gore-loving moviegoers (and not masquerading as an 'epic adventure') clearly found an audience that isn't being served. The fact that it accomplished so much with an R-rating is even more surprising.
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are expected to executive produce once again (under the banner of their Gary Sanchez Productions company), and we'd be genuinely surprised if Renner and Gemma Arterton aren't soon announced to be reprising their roles as the titular siblings. As for the presumed plot of the sequel; well, anyone who saw Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters knows the movie left the doors wide open for further adventures.
The ending may have seemed optimistic at the time, but leaving a team of monster-hunters and an over-sized accomplice to track down witches across Europe (and Africa?) seems as good a time to pick up the plot as any. Plus, another movie gives another chance to see some of the witches we hoped to see in the original, not to mention a more in-depth exploration of screenwriter Andy Knauer's theories on medieval prostitution and witchcraft (see: Episode 76 of the Screen Rant Underground for further information).
We'll keep you updated on more news as its released, but how do you fans of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters feel about a sequel? Is this a chance to see the action and bigger budget that you'd hoped for from the original, or were you hoping for other Grimm fairy tales to get their turn on the big screen? And most importantly, do you think the film even deserved a sequel?
Leave all your thoughts in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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