The Huntsman: Winter's War

The Huntsman: Winter's War

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Produced by Joe Roth
Written by
Based on
Narrated by Liam Neeson
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Phedon Papamichael
Edited by Conrad Buff
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29) (Hamburg)
  • April 22, 2016 (2016-04-22) (United States)
Running time
114 minutes[1]P
Country United States
Language English
Budget $115 million[2][3]
Box office $164.6 million[4]

The Huntsman: Winter's War[5] is a 2016 American dark fantasy action adventure film based on characters from the German fairy tale "Snow White" compiled by the Brothers Grimm, as well as "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen. Both a prequel and sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, the film takes place before and after the events of the first film. The film is written by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos and is the directorial debut of Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who acted as visual effects supervisor on the first film.

Reprising their roles from the first film, the cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost and Sam Claflin. The film also introduced new characters played by actors including Emily Blunt, Rob Brydon and Jessica Chastain. The film premiered in Hamburg on March 29, 2016 and was released in the United States on April 22, 2016. It received generally negative reviews from critics and was a box office disappointment, grossing just $164 million worldwide against a $115 million budget.


Evil sorceress Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) learns that her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt) is not only engaged in an illicit affair with a nobleman Andrew (Colin Morgan), but is also carrying his child. Sometime after Freya gives birth to a baby girl, Freya discovers that Andrew has murdered their child and, in a grief-fueled rage, Freya kills him with her long-dormant ice powers.

Freya abandons the kingdom and builds herself a new kingdom. She orders children to be abducted so they can be trained to be fearsome huntsmen to conquer for her, and to harden their hearts to spare them the future pain of losing someone they love. Despite the training, two of her best huntsmen Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), grow up and fall in love with one another, secretly marry, and plan to escape together. However, Freya discovers their secret and confronts them, creates a massive ice wall to separate them, then forces Eric to watch as Sara is killed by her fellow huntsmen, before she casts him out of the kingdom.

Seven years later, and after Ravenna's death, Queen Snow White falls ill after hearing Ravenna's Magic Mirror calling her. Because of its dark magic, she ordered it to be taken to the Sanctuary, the magical place that sheltered Snow White during the events leading to Ravenna's death, so the mirror's magic can be forever contained there. Snow White's husband, William (Sam Claflin), informs Eric that the soldiers tasked with carrying the Mirror went missing while en route to the Sanctuary. Eric realizes that he is being watched by Freya through magic. Knowing the magic of the mirror can make Freya even stronger, Eric agrees to investigate, but reluctantly allows Snow White's dwarf ally Nion (Nick Frost) and his half-brother Gryff (Rob Brydon) to come along.

While travelling to the last known location of the soldiers, the trio are attacked by a group of Freya's huntsmen, but are rescued by Sara. Sara reveals that she had been imprisoned by Freya the entire time, only to escape recently. Sara believes she saw Eric running away rather than fighting to help her, and feels betrayed. Eric tries to convince her that it was a vision conjured by Freya, since he himself saw Sara being murdered. Eventually, Sara agrees to work with Eric and the dwarves to thwart Freya. The quartet is ensnared in a trap set by dwarves Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach). They convince the dwarves to help them find the Mirror, and the dwarves lead them to the goblins that guard the mirror. The party fight off the goblins to get to the Mirror and escape with the Mirror.

As the group is about to reach the Sanctuary with the Mirror, they are ambushed by Freya and her huntsmen. Freya reveals Sara had been loyal to Freya all along, and Sara was using her companions to find the Mirror. In the ensuing chaos, Nion and Doreena are turned into ice statues, and Sara fires an arrow into Eric's chest on Freya's order, apparently killing him. Freya departs with the Magic Mirror, but she is unaware that Sara intentionally missed so Eric can live. Back in her palace, Freya discovers that Ravenna had become one with the mirror when Snow White vanquished her, and that her spirit is free thanks to Freya. Ravenna then usurps Freya's rule by ordering Freya's huntsmen to exact revenge on Snow White's kingdom, without consulting Freya.

Meanwhile, Eric has infiltrated the ice palace with help of Gryff and Bromwyn. He attempts to assassinate Freya, but is stopped by Ravenna. When Freya realizes that Sara didn't actually kill Eric, she reluctantly sentences them both to death because of Ravenna's manipulation. However, Eric is able to convince a few huntsmen to rebel, claiming the love of brethren. Ravenna begins to kill the huntsmen. Freya, realizing that she is killing her "children", protects them with an ice wall, separating the huntsmen from the sisters. As Eric, Sara and the rebelling huntsmen climb over the wall to fight Ravenna and Freya, the two sisters argue over the icy kingdom. Freya discovers that Ravenna ultimately caused the death of Freya's child so she can still be the fairest of them all, so Freya finally turns against her sister. Freya is impaled by Ravenna, but with her remaining strength Freya freezes the Magic Mirror. Eric shatters the Mirror, thus destroying Ravenna. As Freya dies from her wounds, she smiles at the sight of a vision of her old loving self, and gladly witnesses Eric and Sara together.

With Freya's death, all those who had been imprisoned by Freya's magic are set free, including Nion and Doreena, while a mysterious golden bird flies overhead.




A sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman was initially planned with director Rupert Sanders in talks to return. The sequel plans were changed in August 2012 to a spin-off film concentrating on the Huntsman instead.[6] Universal announced a few days later that they were not shelving the sequel.[7] Another report stated that Universal authorized a sequel[8] with Stewart set to reprise her role, but without Sanders to return as the director because of the scandal.[9] A script was written and production was set to begin at some point in 2013,[8] with the film to be released in 2015.[10] On June 4, 2014, Deadline reported that Frank Darabont, Gavin O'Connor and Andrés Muschietti were on the shortlist to direct a sequel.[11] On June 26, 2014, Deadline confirmed that Darabont was in talks to direct the sequel.[12]

On July 31, 2014, it was announced that the film would be a prequel titled The Huntsman, which would not star Stewart as Snow White.[13] On January 16, 2015, it was announced that Darabont had exited the film after he parted with Universal.[14] Hemsworth and Theron were set to return for the film, while Emily Blunt was being circled for a new role.[14] On January 20, 2015, it was confirmed that VFX specialist Cedric Nicolas-Troyan was set to direct the film, whose last draft was written by Darabont, following drafts by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos.[15]


The refectory at Waverley Abbey with fake vines and rubble added for use as a film set for The Huntsman: Winter's War.

On February 24, 2015, Jessica Chastain was set to star in the film, Nick Frost was confirmed to reprise his previous role, while Blunt, who had been rumored to be interested, finally closed a deal to star as well.[16] On March 18, 2015, it was revealed that Sheridan Smith, Rob Brydon, and Alexandra Roach were added to the cast to play dwarves alongside Frost's character Nion.[17] TheWrap confirmed on May 7, 2015 that Sam Claflin would return as William in the sequel.[18]


Principal photography on the film began on April 6, 2015.[19] Filming took place at Waverley Abbey in Surrey, England in April 2015.[20] Filming also occurred from May to July 2015 in Windsor Great Park, England, at locations including South Forest, Johnson's Pond and in the Deer Park near Snow Hill.[21] Filming was also done in Wells Bishop's Palace and Wells Cathedral.[21][22] In July 2015, filming also took place at Puzzlewood, in the Forest of Dean.[23]


On October 8, 2015 it was officially announced, that James Newton Howard would return to score the film, after creating the music for Snow White and the Huntsman. The score album was released on April 22, 2016.[24] Singer Halsey promoted the film by releasing an alternate version of her song "Castle", along with a subsequent music video, made for the film.


On July 31, 2014, Universal Pictures announced the film's release date would be April 22, 2016.[13] In February 2016, it was announced that the film would be released in 3D in international markets like Germany. In Poland, the theatrical release was scheduled for April 8, 2016, which was the date for many other international markets.[25]


On November 16, 2015, Universal Pictures unveiled four character posters for the film, along with the film's new title, The Huntsman: Winter's War.[26] Three days later, on November 18, 2015, the first official trailer of the film was released, along with two additional teaser posters.[27] A second trailer debuted on February 11, 2016.[28] Universal released a final trailer on March 22, 2016.[29] Hemsworth, Theron, and Chastain introduced a performance by Halsey of "Castle" at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards.


Box office

The Huntsman: Winter's War grossed $48 million in North America and $116.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $164.6 million, against a budget of $115 million.[4]

North America

In the United States and Canada, early tracking suggested the film would open to $24–30 million, which was significantly lower than its predecessor's $56.2 million opening in 2012. The film opened in 3,791 theaters[2][30][31] and grossed $7.3 million on its first day,[32] including $1 million from its early Thursday night previews.[33] In its opening weekend, it grossed a lower-than-expected $19.4 million, which was about 64% less the original film's opening.[34][35] Due to its underperforming opening weekend, the film is projected to lose Universal $30–40 million, with some estimates having the total losses at up to $70 million.[36]

Outside North America

Internationally, The Huntsman: Winter's War will be released in a total of 65 countries.[37] Box office pundits believe the film will end its run at about $150 million internationally, which is lower than its predecessor's total of $240 million ($190 million in today's exchange). One notable difference is that while Winter's War has secured a release date in China, Snow White and the Huntsman did not play there, and analysts believe that could make a difference.[38] It was released in 18 countries two weeks ahead of its U.S. debut, earning $19.1 million from 3,969 screens, and had No. 1 openings in eleven of them, and second overall at the international box office charts, behind the superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[39] In its second weekend, it added 7 new markets and grossed a total of $17.8 million, falling only by 8% from its previews weekend, and still remained at No. 2, behind The Jungle Book.[38] It was still No. 2 in its third weekend.[40] Its top openings occurred in China ($10.4 million), the United Kingdom and Ireland ($4.2 million), Brazil ($3.1 million), Mexico ($2.8 million), France ($2.6 million), Korea ($2.1 million), Russia ($2 million), the Philippines ($1.6 million), Malaysia ($1.6 million), Spain ($1.4 million), and Thailand ($1.2 million).[38][39][40] In China, it was in third place, behind local pic Yesterday Once More and the continued run of The Jungle Book.[40] It lost tremendous amount of screens in its second weekend due to the arrival of three new local pics – Book of Love, Phantom of the Theater and MBA Partners – along with the continued run of The Jungle Book and as a result it grossed just $710,000.[41][42]

In terms of total earnings, its largest markets outside of North America are China ($15.6 million), the UK ($7.3 million) and Mexico ($7.2 million).[41]

Critical response

The Huntsman: Winter's War received generally negative reviews from critics.[43] On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 17%, based on 183 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's consensus reads, "The Huntsman: Winter's War is visually arresting and boasts a stellar cast, but neither are enough to recommend this entirely unnecessary sequel."[44] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[45] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[33]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Trailer Awards Best Action "No Mercy" Nominated [46]
Best Fantasy Adventure "Mirror Online" Nominated
The Don LaFontaine Award for Best Voice Over "Mirror Online" Nominated
Best Motion/Title Graphics "Mirror Online" Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy The Huntsman: Winter's War Nominated [47]
Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Chris Hemsworth Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Charlize Theron Nominated
Choice Movie: Villain Charlize Theron Nominated
Choice Movie: Liplock Chris Hemsworth & Jessica Chastain Nominated
Choice Music: Song from a Movie or TV Show "Castle" by Halsey Nominated


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  24. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External links

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