Hansel & Gretel – Big Heroes On The Little Screen?

Despite Paramount Pictures recently announcing that they had recruited Bruno Aveillan to direct the sequel to the successful Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters movie, it’s now become apparent that the supposedly titled Hansel and Gretel: Death’s Messengers has been put on the backburner in favor of a cable series, with the movie’s director Tommy Wirkola confirming that “The film [sequel] is pretty much dead…we’re developing it into a TV show with Paramount and MGM.”

The Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton led Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters received favourable reviews from critics when it hit the big screen back in 2013 and grossed well in excess of $226 million worldwide on a $50 million budget.

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The movie also proved a hit with fans in the popular culture scene, spawning a wide range of merchandise and video games relating to the witch hunting siblings, including a five-reel video slots game playable on the Betsafe website. The game, from developers Big Time Gaming, lets players choose their preferred weapon of choice to defeat Muriel and her cohorts. Whilst the same fans will undoubtedly be disappointed by the decision to scrap the sequel altogether, you could certainly make the case that the world Hansel and Gretel find themselves operating in is more suited to a TV series format as opposed to another big screen blockbuster. The twins have come of age since defeating their cannibalistic witch 15 years earlier and are now extremely skilled bounty hunters who have dedicated their whole lives to hunting and systematically destroying every witch left in the forest.
This in itself lends the story to a series format, as it arguably allows their many different adventures and enemies to be catalogued by a series of individual episodes or seasons. Indeed, Wirkola has since confirmed that the siblings will be facing a wide array of supernatural threats in the upcoming series as opposed to exclusively hunting witches, explaining that he thinks “it’s natural that, in that world, there would be all different kinds of supernatural creatures and beings.” Fans of Renner and Arterton also look set to be disappointed, as it looks increasingly likely that the series is to be re-cast despite the praise the two received for their performances in the titular roles. Fortunately, Wirkola has also allayed any fears that the gritty, dark undertones of his movie are to be scrapped, explaining that the intention is to maintain the R-rated themes that are present in the original film.

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With the recent success of streaming platforms such as Hulu and Netflix, it will perhaps come as no surprise that the idea of a sequel has been ditched in favour of a TV series. One quick look at recent trends within the film industry shows that fewer people are buying cinema tickets than ever before and are instead opting to watch a few episodes of their favourite boxset from the comfort of their own home. The concept of a Hansel and Gretel TV series is certainly an enticing one and, if executed properly, the decision to move the twins from the cinema to the small screen could prove to be beneficial to all parties.

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