[Update: Relativity Media has moved up the release date for its Snow White project. Scroll down for more information.]
The simultaneous development of nearly identical projects is nothing new in Hollywood; sometimes, one of said competing films ends up being scrapped (see: Baz Luhrmann's Alexander the Great biopic) and other times studios just press ahead regardless of the competition, resulting in two similar movies being released in the same year (see: Deep Impact and Armageddon back in 1998).
It's been known for a while now that 2012 would also mark the release of dual fairy tale flicks - Tarsem Singh's tentatively-titled The Brothers Grimm: Snow White and Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman. But now the competition between the two looks to be heating up.
Universal sent out a press release yesterday, announcing that its "epic action-adventure" Snow White and the Huntsman is now slated to hit theaters on June 1st, 2012. That move not only bumps Huntsman up more than six months ahead of its original December release date, it also means the film will hit theaters four weeks exactly before Brothers Grimm is set to arrive on the scene.
Progress on the Huntsman flick has heated up significantly over the past two weeks, with Pirates of the Caribbean 4 star Sam Claflin and Thor's Chris Hemsworth having both signed on for the pivotal male roles in the fairy tale re-imagining - which will mark the feature-length directorial debut of Rupert Sanders.
Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron remain set to appear in the film as Snow White and the evil queen, respectively - with the twist this time around being that the Huntsman (Hemsworth) not only spares the famous princess' life, he also trains (and, according to Claflin, possibly romances) her to do battle against her wicked stepmother.
Singh has also assembled a motley crew of stars to headline his Snow White adaptation, bringing on the likes of Lily Collins, The Social Network's Armie Hammer, and Julia Roberts to appear in the film, respectively, as the "fairest maiden in the land", her Prince Charming, and her villainous stepmother. Principal photography on Brothers Grimm is scheduled to be getting underway this month; that could prove all the more advantageous to the project if Relativity Media eventually decides to aim for a Spring 2012 release date - and beat Huntsman to the (theatrical) punch.
Right now, however, Universal and Relativity Media are essentially playing a game of chicken with their Snow White movies. The latter studio will almost definitely be the one to "blink" first, since interest in Brothers Grimm will be significantly lessened by Huntsman's earlier arrival; whether Relativity Media will move its project forward to the spring or back to the second half of 2012 is really the issue right now.
UPDATE: Relativity Media has gone ahead and shifted the release date for Singh's Snow White movie up to March 16th, 2012. Here is the studio's official synopsis for the project:
In Relativity's Untitled Snow White Project, starring Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts and breakout star Lilly Collins (The Blind Side), an evil Queen (Roberts) steals control of a kingdom, and an exiled princess (Collins) enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright in a spirited adventure comedy filled with jealousy, romance, and betrayal that will capture the imagination of audiences the world over. The film also stars Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the object of their affection, Prince Andrew Alcott, and Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen.
While the casts for both these films are (arguably) equally strong, the directors assigned to each Snow White tale make one stand out over the other. Singh has already demonstrated a knack for creating gorgeously surreal (sometimes macabre) visuals and his previous directorial efforts (The Cell, The Fall) were neither financial or critical hits - though both are memorable films (we'll see how his 300-inspired adventure flick Immortals turns out this fall). Sanders, in comparison, is more of a wild card, simply because he hasn't actually directed a feature-length movie before now. Take all that as you will.
To reiterate: Snow White and the Huntsman is now scheduled for released on June 1st, 2012.
The Brothers Grimm: Snow White will hit theaters on March 16th, 2012.
Source: Universal, Relativity Media (via Deadline)