Despite the fact that Universal is in complete denial about ditching Kristen Stewart, The Hollywood Reporter is sticking by their story from earlier in the week that had Snow White and the Huntsman turning into a solo starring vehicle for Chris Hemsworth. Since no one else could get confirmation (and their chief rival Deadline called their reporting one comprised of guesswork,) THR decided to post a defensive article today about how not only is it true, but also how the studio has every reason to do it and deny their decision to move on.
The trade publication believes that the $10 million plus 5% back-end Stewart would garner from a sequel is enough to say no to; however, there are also clear marketing concerns (even before Stewart’s affair with director Rupert Sanders) that makes her pretty much underwhelming force in the property. Research apparently showed that Hemsworth was appealing enough to both men and women to anchor the film on its own and Stewart may have actually worked against the franchise’s launch as she is considered to be a polarizing figure with her core audience not unlike Shia LaBeouf.
Furthermore, they believe that Universal is deliberately covering this up despite the clear-as-day facts. THR lays out a convincing argument built on the knowledge that plans to bring since ousted writer David Koepp on originated at a time when the studio believed they would do two films with Stewart before spinning off. That is right. The original setup was to spin Hemsworth’s Huntsman character off anyways which is something that we heard about before the release of Snow White and the Huntsman in June.
Ultimately, it would seem that Universal’s actions have little to do with current events. What is normally business as usual for them has since be contorted into another piece of tabloid news fodder, so until the time when things die down and nobody cares anymore, the studio’s response will be ‘deny deny deny’ especially when this information leaks before notifying Stewart’s reps that she is being pushed out the door. Ouch.