'Snow White' war: Relativity Media leapfrogs its fairy tale adaptation's release date ahead of Universal's
Shot No. 2 has just been fired. As we predicted Monday, Relativity Media is moving the release date for its still-untitled, family-friendly Snow White action project ahead of Universal Pictures' fairy tale adaptation, "Snow White and the Huntsman."
Relativity's movie, which will star Julia Roberts as the evil queen, will now come out on March 16, 2012, the same weekend as Sony's "21 Jump Street" and one week ahead of the highly anticipated adaptation "The Hunger Games" from Lionsgate. (Relativity's Snow White film is scheduled to begin shooting next month.)
Tuesday's move comes one week after Universal shifted its Snow White adaptation out of the 2012 holiday season to June 1, nearly a month ahead of Relativity's original June 29, 2012, release date.
Relativity is not stopping with "Snow White." They seem to be engaging in all-out warfare with Universal, dating their Nicholas Sparks romance "Safe Haven" -- which has yet to be cast -- on June 1. That means it will go head to head with "Snow White and the Huntsman" starring Kristen Stewart.
Relativity has also slated its Philip Noyce-actioner "Hunter Killer," about a rookie submarine captain who must work with a Navy SEAL, for Dec. 21,the same weekend that Universal has set its latest Judd Apatow-directed comedy, a "Knocked Up" spinoff that Universal just moved into December.
It's rare for this kind of battling to happen so early in the life cycle of a film. But Relativity's maneuvering suggests it was very upset with Universal's earlier decision to move its "Snow White" adaptation from late 2012 to June 1, ahead of Relativity's title. The question now is whether Universal will retaliate.
It's never good for the movie business as a whole when studios place competing projects on the same weekend because it splits the audience and diminishes the box-office potential for each film. With Relativity placing its Sparks film on the same weekend as Universal's "Snow White," one could argue that the two films will split the female audience. The same can be said for the male audience having to choose between "Hunter Killer" and the Apatow comedy.
It's unlikely the last chess piece has been moved in this high-stakes game.
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: Julia Roberts will star in Relativity Media's family-friendly Snow White action project. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press