Huntsman Winters War Jessica Chastain, Chris Hemsworth

April 25, 2016

I had planned to do the first of my DIY Publishing posts today but then I saw The Huntsman: Winter’s War and kept thinking about it and decided I wanted to talk about this instead.

Everyone needs to see The Huntsman: Winter’s War for one simple reason: so they make more.

Those who know me have heard me say for years that in Hollywood you vote with your money.

The first Huntsman (of the Snow White variety) made $56.2M opening weekend and went on to $155M domestically. So, of course they made another one. Winter’s War made $20.2M opening weekend.

There’s plenty of reasons Winter’s War did so poorly.

  • The Jungle Book captured most of the audience with $60.8M
  • It’s a gorgeous spring weekend, lots of people were probably outside having fun

Ok that’s not “plenty” of reasons – that’s two.
There are far more reasons it needs to make more money.

  • It stars three fantastic actresses
  • There’s lots of pretty, fantasy action
  • The story is driven by FOUR interesting, dimensional female characters
  • Like the best known fairy tales in The Fairy Tale Legacy, the entire story is about these women – their power and griefs and desires and broken hearts drive the story
  • And like the fairy tales, this is a world where the women wield power and influence – they are so much more than sex objects
  • It’s all the fun of the Snow White world without Kristen Stewart
  • And there’s more women on the poster than men
  • Also, Chris Hemsworth.

If that’s not the ideal chick flick, I don’t know what is.

More than that, we say it all the time. We want more women directors. We want more dimensional roles for women. We want to see more women on screen.

So, here it is. A movie with powerful, interesting women in a fairy tale setting with some action thrown in to keep it interesting.

And it had a $20M opening weekend. The Suits in Hollywood are going to say that it didn’t appeal to guys enough. That female audiences can’t open a movie; can’t carry it through to substantial box office. It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not (because a number of other movies have shown that it’s not true – but not enough). They’re not going to make any more Huntsman movies.

Eventually they’ll try again with a film populated by a good number of actresses. They’ll try again with a blend of fantasy action that isn’t completely full of testosterone (but Warcraft will come out first and if that makes buckets of money, guess what they’re going to be making lots of next). The bright side is that it’s not too late. Opening weekend is a big deal, but total domestic box office buys a sequel.

We say we want all these things as women, we talk about the way we want to be represented and to see not just an industry change but our culture change. And a lot of the time when we say it, it sounds like we feel powerless to effect the change we want. We’re not powerless. But we are responsible for our own revolution.

So, here it is. You vote with your money.

HUNTSMAN WINTER'S WAR Chris Hemsworth behind the scenes
HUNTSMAN WINTER’S WAR Chris Hemsworth behind the scenes

You don’t have to like The Huntsman franchise (but, seriously… Chris Hemsworth is the title character – show up and he’ll be in the next one too).
You don’t have to love Charlize Theron (I think Ravenna is kind of fantastic) or Emily Blunt (have you seen Edge of Tomorrow?! good movie, not enough women) or even Jessica Chastain (I think they’re all talented and have very good performances in Winter’s War).

You don’t even have to think this is a great movie (I enjoyed it quite a bit though so you might too).

If you want more movies like this, go see this one. And maybe we’ll begin to see the tide turn the direction we want instead of more (and more… and more!) Jason Bourne movies. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jason Bourne too.

But I want lots more movies with lots of cool ladies.

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4 responses to “Why everyone needs to see The Huntsman: Winter’s War

  1. We saw a trailer for this movie the other day and my husband made a comment about how all the ladies who complain that there aren’t enough lady-driven movies in this vein should go out to see it, and here you just made that exact point. As I mentioned on Twitter, I didn’t care for the first one, so my interest in this one was non-existent for that reason alone. But since you liked it I’m intrigued, and think I think I will at least check it out on Redbox if I can’t make it to the theater. My biggest problem with the last one was the script. It honestly felt like a first draft to me, like they hadn’t bothered to refine the story. Kristen Stewart didn’t help, but all the ladies in this movie are awesome!

    • Annie

      That’s cool that your husband made the same observation, probably much more succinctly than I did 🙂
      I didn’t love the first one either and agree that it was choppy without a seamless narrative transition between scenes. I agree that it needed some work. This one addressed that in voiceover which turned out to be an efficient though not elegant way to move the story forward. Still, Winter’s War is better than Snow White in pretty much every way. With lots of cool ladies 🙂

  2. I didn’t know this one didn’t do as well at the box office, that’s too bad. I love that they feature more strong female roles, and since you say the story is great, I’m even more curious to see it. Like Amy, I don’t know when I’ll make it to the theater, but hopefully when it comes out on DVD. Perhaps the fallout from the first film put people off this unfortunately.

    • Annie

      It is sad! The story is good… I love fantasy action and adventure so this is completely my genre and I liked the movie but I wanted to love it. I wanted it to be among my favorite movies and it isn’t quite that. But it is good. Expectations are tough to wrestle with 🙂 I’d love to hear what you think of it when you do see it.