New Releases 2012: Fairy Tales as Movies (Snow White and the Huntsman, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel)

Fairy tales are the new comic books

Snow White and the Huntsman was the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend, bringing in a little more than $56 million and beating modest studio expectations. Wait, didn’t that movie come out already? No, that was Mirror Mirror, the other movie released this year that tried to put a new spin on the Snow White story. And that’s not to be confused with Once Upon a Time, the TV show — one of the biggest hits of last year — that features Snow White as a major character.

Like comic books, fairy tales are ripe for reinvention and reimagination, even if we already know the story. And when one becomes a major box-office success — à la the $1 billion worldwide Alice in Wonderland — movie studios pounce to see if they can make lightning strike multiple times. No longer are fairy tales the jurisdiction of Disney 2D animation. Here are some more we can look forward to:

Beauty and the Beast (Fall 2012)
Snow White is a TV star now — why wouldn’t Beauty follow in her fair footsteps? This new drama, starting this fall on the CW, sees Beauty (Kristin Kreuk) as a homicide detective and the Beast (Jay Ryan), as more of a Hulk-type — a man that changes into a beast when he gets angry.

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (January 2013)
Hansel and Gretel was always my favorite because it’s one of the few fairy tales where the girl always saves the boy. Let’s hope they keep that spirit in this movie, which features Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) as the famous duo 15 years later, when they’ve become witch-killing bounty-hunters.

Jack the Giant-Killer (March 2013)
Filmmakers claim this is a modern update on the Jack and the Beanstalk tale, although it still has farmers, giants, and princesses, so take “modern” with a grain of salt. About a Boy’s Nicholas Hoult (all grown up) is Jack, X-Men’s Bryan Singer directs, and of course, you can’t get the full sense of a giant unless it comes out in IMAX.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 2013)
Fine, The Wizard of Oz isn’t exactly a fairy tale, but it’s close enough. This film, starring James Franco, starts with Mr. Oz before he was so great and powerful, and follows his rise in the Emerald City. L. Frank Baum wrote some of the Oz novels when he was living in Peekskill — you can still find a yellow brick road there — so you might be reminded of home. There’s no place like it, after all.

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