Back in August, it looked like Paramount's Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 2 was finally on the right track, when French filmmaker Bruno Aveillan signed on to direct the gestating sequel. The news came nearly a year after original Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters filmmaker Tommy Wirkola backed out of the sequel. Today, Deadline reports that this beleaguered project has hit yet another stumbling block, with Paramount reportedly canceling the theatrical sequel altogether, in favor of turning the project into a TV series.
The studio is reportedly formulating a new plan to craft this story into a cable TV series produced by Paramount Television and Gary Sanchez Productions, which produced the original Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Nothing is set in stone yet, but the news comes just a few weeks after Paramount teamed up with Amazon Studios for a Jack Ryan TV series. The last entry in the movie franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, only took in $135 million worldwide, from a $60 million budget.
The original Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters didn't exactly set the box office on fire either when it debuted in January 2013. The action-thriller, which starred Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the witch-hunting siblings, took in just $55.7 million domestically, but earned $170.6 million internationally for a worldwide total of $226.3 million, from a $50 million budget. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton were slated to reprise their roles as Hansel and Gretel, but it's believed that the TV project will start from scratch and recast the characters.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was set 15 years after the title siblings' (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) incident at the gingerbread house, with the brother and sister now making their living as bounty hunters who track down witches and other nefarious creatures. The supporting cast included Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Derek Mears, Robin Atkin Downes and Ingrid Bolsø Berdal. It isn't known if any of those cast members will be back for this proposed TV series.
Last month, concept artist Steven Ilous revealed artwork from Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 2 that was rejected by the studio, which revealed the working title Death's Messengers, along with a number of new zombies and other creatures. Would you rather see Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 2 hit theaters, or live on as a TV series instead? Nothing has been confirmed at this time, so stay tuned for the latest updates.