Did Relativity Make A Mistake Moving Its 'Snow White' Up To March To Beat Universal's 'Snow White And The Huntsman?'

The irony of two movies about the sweet, simple character of Snow White doing such vicious battle must be lost on the executives of both Universal and Relativity. For months we've been reporting on the dueling developments of Relativity's Untitled Snow White film (which was at one point called The Brothers Grimm: Snow White) versus Universal's Snow White and The Huntsman. Each independently locked a director, A-list cast members and release dates but with the Relativity film — directed by Tarsem Singh starring Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Julia Roberts — completing its cast first and scheduled to start shooting in June, it made sense that it would be out before the other movie. But once the Universal film — directed by Rupert Sanders starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron — finally locked its big roles, it leapfrogged from its original December 2012 release date until June 1, 2012, poising itself to be the first Snow White film on the market.

Tuesday, Relativity countered in a big, big way. They've pushed their Tarsem Singh, Julia Roberts film up from June 29 until March 16, 2012, three months before the Universal film. With Huntsman not scheduled to begin shooting until late summer, this will probably be the end of the release date shuffle.

However, in beating its competition to theaters, Relativity's film is now in danger of being overshadowed by several other major March 2012 family, fantasy releases. Read all about it, as well as the strategically placed release dates of Relativity's Safe House and Hunter Killer, after the jump.

Here's how March 2012 currently stacks up, according to Box Office Mojo:

  • March 2 – Dr. Seuss's The Lorax; Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
  • March 9 – John Carter (formerly of Mars); John Cusack's Edgar Allen Poe movie, formerly called The Raven
  • March 16 – Relativity's Snow White; 21 Jump Street; Contraband
  • March 23 – The Hunger Games
  • March 30 – Clash of the Titans 2; My Mother's Curse; The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • If you look at the films I've bolded above, Relativity might have bitten off more than they can chew. Will they be the first Snow White film released in 2012? Most likely. But the films bolded above are all similar in audience, tone and subject matter to their family fairy tale. Julia Roberts aside, what is there to distinguish a Snow White movie it in such a crowded fantasy marketplace? There's a risk of over saturation or just plain indifference with so many similar films being released.

    However, that doesn't seem to matter to Relativity, who must have gotten really pissed when Universal – who has a first look deal with Relativity and usually plays nice together – moved their Snow White film up two weeks ago. In addition to changing their Snow White date, Relativity has officially slotted two of their other movies on dates that put them in direct competition with Universal releases. Safe Haven, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, will come out on June 1 opposite Snow White and the Huntsman while Hunter Killer, the latest from Phillip Noyce, will open on December 21, the new date for the untitled Judd Apatow movie with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. They're out for blood. And by "blood," I mean "box office dollars."

    Do you think this is the end of all the back fighting? Is it truly important to be the first film in the marketplace or the best film? And will Snow White do okay versus such strong fantasy competition?

    Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety