The live-action remake of the iconic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) movie has been surrounded by controversy. Among all of the drama and controversy, the film will need to make $340 million to break even, leaving Disney looking at another box office flop.
The struggle for the live remake started when Rachel Zegler, known for her role in West Side Story (2021) was announced as Snow White. Fans were upset that a Latina actress would be portraying the role of the princess.
Another controversy for the film popped up when Zegler stated that the live action Snow White would not “be saved by a prince” as she was in the original. Although this was meant to take a feminist stride, it caused many to speak out against the yet-to-be-released remake.
Those who spoke out were upset that the new film would move away from the original storyline that Walt Disney himself was involved in.
Shortly after Zegler was announced as Snow White, more controversy arose around including dwarfs in the new remake. Some vocal fans were upset that Disney wasn’t going to dwarves in the new film.
When this information was released, and Disney stated they would have “magical creatures,” fans of the original film were upset that, once again, the live remake would move away from something that Walt Disney himself used in the original film.
Amongst all the controversy, the release date for the film has been pushed back from March 22, 2024, to March 21, 2025. We don’t have specifics on why Disney pushed back the release date; speculation is that the strikes in Hollywood and the backlash the film received caused this decision to be made.
Money Needs to Be Made- and A Lot of It
According to Forbes, movies must earn double their production buffet to break even at the box office. For this film, that would mean at least $340 million.
Walt Disney Studios spent around $209.3 million producing the live-action Snow White. The high price tag was a combination of COVID-19 delaying production, which pushed production by two years.
The film received some financial help from the UK’s Film Tax Relief initiative. Films produced in the United Kingdom can get kickbacks in the form of tax relief. The film received 41.1 million in reimbursement cash as part of this initiative.
Despite that reimbursement, Forbes still predicts that the film must make “at least $336.4 million” to balance the costs.
To compare, the highly anticipated but also controversial The Little Mermaid (2023) grossed $298 million domestically and $569 million worldwide. This is down drastically compared to The Lion King (2019), which made more than $543 million domestically alone.
These are only a few numbers, but they represent how Disney’s live-action films are not knocking it out of the park like they had hoped. This, coupled with the controversy around the film, leads to the reality that being a box office success could be out of reach for Snow White.
Knowing this struggle is ahead of them, it will be interesting to see if Disney will make any other adjustments to the film’s release in hopes of having a better chance in the theatres.