On the list of films that absolutely and desperately need a sequel, Tommy Wirkola’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ranks somewhere around that home movie about your family taking a trip to that beach. But it was a global success, and so a continuation of the story was inevitable. But instead of seeing anything happening on the big screen, which has been the plan for over a year now, it looks like the fantastical tale of the witch-hunting siblings will be headed to television. I’m waiting for the Salem crossover episode.
Paramount Pictures is apparently pushing aside all the ideas for a feature sequel, and they’re shifting focus to spinning the basic story into a cable series that would be produced through Paramount TV. Horror-ish stuff and fantasy are huge on TV these days, so it’s easy to see why the studio would want to expand on what’s already out there, but Hansel and Gretel is such an odd basket to fill with TV apples.
According to Deadline, the studio switch from movie to TV was a shock to the filmmakers, so it’s possible this decision was made entirely in-house. The details are still being worked out, so not much is set in stone, and it’s not clear if director Bruno Aveillan is still involved or not.
In the months following its U.S. release of January 25, 2013 – a time of year where cinematic dreck generally goes to die – Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters brought in only $55 million at the box office, which doesn’t look so good when the film cost around $50 million to produce. But when you factor in the fairly astounding $170 million earned overseas, that’s when the logic behind following this story up becomes more apparent. Maybe they’re hoping that a huge number of international markets will snatch up rights to the show if it indeed gets developed.
Wirkola’s film, which was embraced by genre fans and largely dismissed by casual viewers, starred Jeremy Renner as the diabetic Hansel and Gemma Arterton as the heroic Gretel, both of whom spent the years after killing the Gingerbread House Witch becoming widely known for their violent talents. They soon take on another kind of evil that ties into their past. If you’re looking for goofy fun, this is for you. If you’re looking for a thoughtful extension of a beloved fairy tale, you might want to think about becoming the previous example. After seeing how big and beautifully morbid Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead turned out, I absolutely wish he would get involved with this show, particularly if it made it to Cinemax or Showtime, where the blood and mayhem can fly with reckless abandon.
Paramount TV just got a new Jack Ryan series from Carlton Cuse set up at Amazon, and even though something like Minority Report is a bad example of the film-to-TV trend, Hansel and Gretel might be just what people want.