It seems that Hollywood just can't get enough of reinventing fairy tales, though the audience and box office response to them has been mixed at best. "Beauty and the Beast in high school" romance flick Beastly was almost universally scorned by critics, though it managed to earn a modest profit off its relatively low production budget. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Snow White and the Huntsman both did well enough overseas to compensate for their lukewarm domestic gross, and it was more or less the same deal for Snow White and the Huntsman's rival, Mirror Mirror.
The fairy tale trend is not over yet, though. Next year we can expect to see Maleficent, a live-action origin story for Disney's Sleeping Beauty villain, and Guillermo Del Toro is planning another Beauty and the Beast adaptation with Emma Watson as the heroine. For whatever reason, live-action reinventions of classic fairy tales are incredibly in vogue right now. Personally, I blame Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which was one of the few fairy tale success stories at the box office, earning a worldwide gross of over $1 billion.
Legendary Pictures hasn't been so lucky with its big-budget, CGI-heavy fantasy adventure Jack the Giant Slayer. Despite a worldwide marketing budget of over $100 million, on top of the production budget of $200 million, Yahoo reports that the film has so far only earned only around $157 million since its March 1st release date, with THR predicting that it will top out at just over $200 million. This will leave Legendary Pictures (who financed half of the film's total budget) with losses of between $125 and $140 million, and Warner Bros. facing significant losses as well.
The film's plot was conflated from different sources, with the magic beans and beanstalk derived from the classic fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk", and the title and royal love interest (Eleanor Tomlinson) drawn from the Arthurian folk tales of "Jack the Giant Killer." It featured Nicholas Hoult in the lead role and was produced and directed by Bryan Singer, who will hopefully make a recovery with next year's release of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
If the estimated numbers hold, Jack the Giant Slayer's overall losses will fall somewhere between those for 2012 disasters Battleship and John Carter, making it an early contender for 2013's "Flop of the Year" award. It's worth noting, however, that critic and audience responses were somewhat more positive than the box office intake. The film has received middling-to-good reviews, with Screen Rant's Ben Kendrick describing it as "surprisingly entertaining," and the majority of our poll voters rating it between 4 and 5 stars.
Were you one of the people who saw Jack the Giant Slayer in theaters last month? Did it deserve better numbers than it got? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Jack the Giant Slayer is predicted to get a DVD and Blu-ray release in July 2013.