Last weekend, Snow White and the Huntsman topped the box-office charts with a $56 million dollar debut. Earlier this year, Mirror Mirror brought in $155 million dollars, making it the highest grossing March opening at the box office.Next, Disney’s Brave is set to premiere on June 22. It is clear that we are obsessed with princess fairy tales. What is even clearer is that Hollywood is recapturing our favorite tales with stronger female characters.
The epic trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman shows clips where Kristen Stewart, who plays the character of Snow White, is in full battle armor. Instead of depicting the usual image of Snow White, Stewart’s character is very reminiscent of Joan of Arc. What is up with that? Snow White and the Huntsman spins a modern twist on the classic tale and shows that princesses are no longer the damsels in distress they once were. Princesses are fighting for their own causes as opposed to waiting for a prince.
Earlier this year, Mirror Mirror also retold the classic tale of Snow White. While this version of the story didn’t add new characters, it reversed the role of Prince Charming and Snow White. Instead of Snow White waiting to be rescued by Prince Charming, our prince needed to be rescued by Snow White from the Evil Queen. Even more interesting was how Snow White’s behavior and actions paralleled those of Robin Hood in many ways. In the movie, Snow White convinces the dwarf bandits to use their thieving skills to steal back the tax money from the Evil Queen and redistribute it in the town. Snow White trains hard to take back power and become the rightful successor to her father’s throne.
Even the evil queens in these new Snow White movies are pretty badass. The queens are after wealth and beauty, and are fearless in the line of battle. They are willing to do anything to keep their power. Even though this plays into the typical role of the Evil Queen, the movies have worked hard to show to what lengths these women would go to protect their beauty and lifestyle.
Disney’s next animated movie is also about a princess that rebels against the norm. This new fairy tale follows the story of Merida, a princess who is determined to make her own path in life. Merida brings chaos to her kingdom when she fails to abide by her land’s customs, and then she takes matters into her own hands. The movie’s trailer promises a new kind of princess - one who takes orders from no one.
Hollywood is adding a modern twist to our favorite fairy tales. The role of princesses and queens is evolving, and this might be an attempt at trying to make female characters more relatable on screen. Of course there have been strong female characters in previous fairy tale movies (like in Disney’s Mulan and last year’s Red Riding Hood), but recently this has become an even more popular trend. Not only is this a way for Hollywood to make classics tales bankable, but it is also sending out a new message: women are stronger than you think.
While, Snow White and the Huntsman and Brave promise to bring in a lot of money at the box office, they also mark the shift in role of female characters in fairy tales on screen. Princesses in movies are no longer just pretty faces in beautiful dresses – they stand for a purpose.