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In search of female film audiences

Rafer Guzman
Newsday
(MCT)

Despite the box-office disappointment of the all-female action-fantasy “Sucker Punch,” Hollywood is still eager to make movies about strong women. “Hanna,” starring Saoirse Ronan as a trained killer, is in theatres now.

The action genre, however, is not where the big bets are being placed.The hot ticket seems to be fairy tales.

They typically feature passive female roles, “Sleeping Beauty” is an obvious example, but several upcoming versions are telling different stories.

One adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty,” in which the heroine travels through a dream world and tries to find her way out, reportedly has drawn interest from Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year-old Oscar nominee who played the scrappy Mattie Ross in “True Grit.”

That news comes on the heels of Kristen Stewart’s taking the lead role in Universal’s upcoming “Snow White and the Huntsman,” in which Snow joins forces with her protector; Charlize Theron plays the evil queen.

Julia Roberts is set to play that role in yet another adaptation, “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White,” in which Snow enlists the seven dwarves to avenge her father’s murder.

And don’t forget about “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” starring Gemma Arterton.

Will female audiences turn out for these movies?

Ticket sales for two recent fairytale films may provide an answer.

Last year’s animated “Tangled,” in which Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) left her tower in search of adventure, became a hit. Conversely, last month’s “Red Riding Hood,” in which Amanda Seyfried mostly swooned over a young woodcutter, fizzled.

Joshua Ballou contributed to this story and can be reached at jballou@cocc.ed

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