Ever since the financial success of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, there has been a recent surge in creating more “mature” fairy tale films, becoming darker and more catered to adults.
Fairy tales have always been a go-to source for family-friendly entertainment. However, many of these fairy tales weren’t nearly as innocent or wholesome as many believe there are.
For example, in the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the glass slipper. In Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, the circumstances are a lot more bleak, leading to a point where the only way to keep herself alive is to kill the prince whom she saved. She stops at the last minute and let’s herself turn into sea foam, the equivalent of death for mermaids.
Like many folk tales and stories, they change and evolved into their child friendly counterparts, these tales being adapted for stage and early cinema long before Walt Disney was even born. George Méliès, considered one of the first cinematic storytellers, produced the first film adaptation of Cinderella in 1899.
What we are currently seeing in the industry is more of a reversal when it comes to these fairy tales, people creating a darker take, harkening to the early traditions of the tales while at the same time tweaking it to reel in as many people as possible.
Right now, we are seeing the early stages of the “Snow White War.” Mirror Mirror has just been released; Snow White and the Huntsman is only a few months away, and Disney’s Order of the Seven, their own take on Snow White, is currently in development.
However, it doesn’t stop there, as more fairy tales are being lined up for development, such as a Guillermo Del Toro-helmed take on Beauty and the Beast and an upcoming animated adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen being produced by Disney.
Fairy tales have taken up the mantle once worn by zombies and vampires as the money-making topic. While films such as Red Riding Hood tried to combine fairy tales with Twilight-esque romance, it’s clear that re-imagining classic stories proves to be a profitable venture for an industry that has become more and more risk-adverse.
Next Week: Common misconceptions about the film industry