Many Disney fans want Walt’s company to scrap the release of the upcoming Snow White remake altogether, but Disney reportedly has no choice but to release it and to ensure that it’s a blockbuster film that makes millions.
Disney’s newest live-action take-two film, simply titled Snow White, was directed by Marc Webb and written by Greta Gerwig, the director of the critically acclaimed and uber-popular Barbie movie (2023), and Erin Cressida Wilson and stars Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen, Ansu Kabia as the Huntsman, Martin Klebba as Grumpy, Andrew Burnap as Jonathan, a new character created for the remake that replaces the prince, and Rachel Zegler from West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg, as the title character.
There are so many things wrong with Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Walt’s 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that it’s difficult to say anything good about the film.
Make that nearly impossible.
The controversy surrounding the take-two of the film that literally served as the springboard for Walt Disney Feature Animation and, therefore, the springboard for the success of Walt’s enterprise altogether, is so vast and so far-reaching that true fans of the Disney Classics are disgusted by the very idea of a remake.
Dwarfs or No Dwarfs? That is the Question
The remake has been entangled in controversy and, unsurprisingly, fraught with criticism from the beginning. Not only has Disney been under fire from stars like Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), a member of the dwarfism community, for its initial plans to include dwarfs in the film, but the studio came under fire again when it announced that instead of dwarfs, the storyline would call for magical creatures.
As if that weren’t enough, actors within the dwarfism community became angry with Dinklage, saying that he doesn’t speak for everyone in the community. Some actors felt that Dinklage should have kept his comments to himself, asserting that Dinklage’s outcry took away jobs from actors who would have been happy to play the roles.
In July, leaked photos from the set of Snow White revealed that only one actor in the film has a form of dwarfism–American actor Martin Klebba–enraging fans yet again.
An Entitled Star “Actress”
Fans are disgusted by one of the film’s so-called stars who has already soured the movie for fans before the film has even been released.
Rachel Zegler, who is yet very early in her acting career, having only begun her career in Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, has continually displayed an air of immaturity and her very own pride-laced brand of arrogance each time the new Snow White film has been met with opposing views from her own.
In February 2022, Zegler responded to those who took issue with a Latina playing the role of Snow White with harshness, never publicly displaying any attempt to understand the growing disapproval, the majority of which did not come from a racist viewpoint but rather a love for Disney’s classics and a desire to keep at least a part of the classic film intact. (Isn’t that what a remake is?)
A growing number of fans share a similar sentiment: Snow White’s very name comes from the fact that her skin is white as snow (but no one took issue with that). So the issue was not the fact that a Latina was cast in the role, but rather that something needed to be done to address the issue of the Disney princess’s snow-white skin.
“Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me,” Zegler said. “You don’t normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent. Even though Snow White is really a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries. You don’t particularly see people who look like me . . . playing roles like that.”
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Zegler responded to backlash from critics about Disney’s decision to cast her for the new role, saying, “Yes, I am Snow White; no, I am not bleaching my skin for the role.”
An Arrogant Lead Actress Who Shows No True Leadership Abilities
Zegler’s interactions that include conversations and questions about the Snow White remake have not gone well. The not-yet-accomplished actress is harsh and cold, and more recently, Zegler has taken the liberty of lifting herself high onto a pedestal–publicly announcing that she wants no part of any negative comments or criticism about the film.
In response to the continued frustration over her role as Snow White, Zegler thanked her fans (those who agree with her 100%) and took the opportunity to make her own opinions public, telling those who have an issue with the film to leave her out of it and labeling feelings different from hers as “nonsensical discourse.”
Zegler’s attitude toward anyone with an opinion that differs from hers simply knows no limits:
“People are making these jokes about ours being the PC Snow White, where it’s like, yeah, it is—because it needed that,” she said. “It’s an 85-year-old cartoon, and our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond ‘Someday My Prince Will Come.’”
Disney Has No Choice But to Release the Awful Remake
Much to their dismay, Disney fans who are hoping in earnest that Disney will scrap the release of the Snow White film, scheduled for a March 2024 debut, there’s no chance of that happening–and for good reason: Disney has gotten itself into a position, and now, the company has no choice in the matter. The new film must be released, and it doesn’t stop there.
Snow White will have to gross at least $336.4 million just to break even. That’s according to an analysis of Disney’s recently released filings.
The finances of films are usually a closely guarded secret as studios combine the cost of individual movies in their overall expenses and don’t itemize how much they spend on each one. Movies filmed in the UK are an exception, and “Snow White” is one of them. It was shot just outside London at the historic Pinewood Studios and on location across the UK.
Productions made there benefit from the government’s Film Tax Relief scheme, which gives studios a cash reimbursement of up to 25% of the money they spend in the UK, provided that it represents at least 10% of the movie’s total costs. In order to demonstrate this to the government, studios set up separate companies to make each movie and they have to file financial statements showing everything from staff numbers, salaries, and costs to the amount of cash reimbursement they receive.
The companies usually have code names so that they don’t raise attention with fans when filing for permits to film on location. Snow White was made by Disney’s UK subsidiary Hidden Heart Productions.
Financial statements that were recently filed by Disney show that over a three-year period that ended on July 31, 2022, Disney spent nearly $210 million in production costs on the new Snow White-inspired remake. The filings explain that the exorbitant costs were caused in part by pandemic-related delays.
Those costs will only rise, as more than a year of post-production still has to be added to the $210 million production costs.
Forbes states that “if Disney retains around 50% of the takings from Snow White, the movie will need to gross $336.4 million just to cover its baseline spending.”
Only time will tell if Disney can pull this off, as so many fans have already said they’ll have no part in supporting the new film or an actress like Zegler, whose attitude and entire demeanor warrant a boycott of the film, in and of themselves.