Hollywood has always been good at recycling familiar storylines while at the same time charging premium prices. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. Today Warner Brothers/New Line is going down that path with “Jack The Giant Slayer,” which is a update on the classic fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” However judging by today’s round of opening day reviews, many critics haven’t really seemed to make up their mind on the movie which has led to mediocre reviews.
Originally conceived as a big budget summer tentpole, ‘Jack’ somehow ended up being released in the dead of winter. The 3D epic stars Nicolas Hoult, as a young farmhand (named Jack), who accidentally opens a portal to a land of giants that are chomping at the bit to try and reclaim the land they felt was taken from them years ago.
Co-starring Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci, the film was greenlit during a time where live action fairytales were the “hot” industry storyline. Although as all trends do, this one cooled down and the studio found themselves with a picture that didn’t quite go with their current slate. Today’s critics don’t seem to have minded the film, but none have been completely gushing over it either.
“Not awful, not wonderful, Jack the Giant Slayer is a midrange fairy tale epic that's a lot more ho-hum than fee-fi-fo-fum.” Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
“Fee-fi-ho-hum.” James Verniere, Boston Herald
Yet with famed director Bryan Singer at the helm the film could still find itself a strong audience this weekend, where it is the highest profile of today’s new releases. Early tracking has predictions for “Jack” coming between $25 million and $28 million, which is believable given the significant 3D and IMAX upcharges that come with a movie of this type.
Warner Brothers executives also have to take comfort in their recent successes overseas to help add to the studio’s overall cumulative grosses. The studio’s “Cloud Atlas” which got destroyed domestically was just revealed to have been a strong oversees performer, specifically in Japan. As a result, high risk, high reward movies likes “Jack” (which is reported to have a massive budget to recoup) could have a safety net should their debuts not be as “giant” as hoped.
“Jack The Giant Slayer” is in theaters starting today.