Kristen Stewart fans are a loyal and vigilant bunch. For proof, tweet her name and watch the notifications roll in. (Just keep it nice, unless you want to be swimming in a sea of angry replies for the next week.) Whether that devotion actually translates into box-office gold is debatable, considering American Ultra’s less-than-astounding performance last summer. But courting K-Stew Nation certainly doesn’t hurt a film’s chances of success. And if you think Stewart boosters are going to turn out for a follow-up to one of her hits that neglects to even feature her, you’re more clueless than that shirtless werewolf who thinks he can get between Bella and her pasty vampire lover.
A Snow White sequel/prequel without Snow White, The Huntsman: Winter’s War tried to compensate for the absence of Stewart by doubling down on its star pedigree. But neither the returning players (Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron) nor a vital injection of thespian backup (Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain) could attract the same crowd that convinced producers they had a hit fairy-tale franchise on their hands. This weekend, Winter’s War opened with $20 million—not a pretty sum, considering both its $115 million budget and the fact that the previous movie grossed some three times more in its first weekend. The series is probably dead, though they could try to lure Stewart back for some all-star reunion reboot. Hey, it worked for that other Universal franchise, Fast & Furious.
Winter’s War might have done better if it wasn’t competing against another star-studded, CGI-heavy fantasy that continued to do big business in its second weekend. Retaining the No. 1 spot on the box-office charts and losing only about 40-percent of its audience, The Jungle Book added another $60 million, inspiring embittered rival studios to perform their own renditions of “I Wanna Be Like You.” Universal, in particular, must be seething with jealousy; if 2015 was a magic year for the company, they’re now eating the dust of Disney, who have chased the record-breaking The Force Awakens with smashes both live-action (a term to be used loosely with The Jungle Book, granted) and animated (Zootopia has now crossed $900 million worldwide). And of course, there’s another Marvel movie just two weeks away. That should do pretty well, even without the Huntsman himself, Chris Hemsworth, among the Avengers assembled.
On the limited-release front, the Spanish-language Compadres cracked the top ten with $1.3 million, A Hologram For The King landed two slots lower with $1.2 million (probably what they spent on Tom Hanks’ trailer), and Elvis & Nixon followed its Tribeca premiere with less than half a million in ticket sales. Meanwhile, another big-screen fairytale, Matteo Garrone’s Tale Of Tales, quietly brought in $9,000 on two screens. Maybe Garrone should have secured Kristen Stewart, who’s been doing more offbeat indie fare lately. K-Stew Nation has to see something between now and the release of Equals this summer.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.