By Kate Ward
Updated May 24, 2011 at 09:10 PM EDT

First, let’s break this down: Originally, Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, had set its release date for December 2012. Relativity’s untitled Snow White movie, starring Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer, scheduled its bow for June 29, 2012. Then, in an attempt to beat Relativity to the box office, Universal scheduled Huntsman for June 1, 2012. And now, Relativity confirms that its pushed up its release date to March 16, 2012. Before long, this race to the theaters might just end with audiences catching a Snow White screening by the end of this week.

But will this race to the theaters actually affect which Snow White film will become the fairest of them all? We can look at box office history to fight both sides: Back in 1998, Deep Impact beat Armageddon to the meteor-fueled punch, but the latter film outgrossed Impact by over $60 million. (Impact should have raised Armageddon‘s animal crackers a Circus Animal.) But, as we saw with preacher Harold Camping, we should never underestimate how much American people want to watch our world end. Two films boasting shock-and-awe special effects might find audiences willing to return for a second go-round; two films about a fairy tale character? Though we enjoyed our parents re-reading the tales as children, it’s less likely we would rush to the theater for another helping of Snow White.

After all, even looking at Hollywood’s mass destruction films, the Armageddon formula sometimes misses a thing: Though, in 1997, Volcano arguably had more star power (Tommy Lee Jones, Don Cheadle, Anne Heche) than the previously released Dante’s Peak (Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton), Volcano still grossed almost $20 million less than Peak. But, still, it all depends on the project. Should one of the Snow White parties create an excellent film with good word-of-mouth attached, we’re more likely to be willing to wait for a later release date. It’s about quality, not… when-ity.

Does a film’s timing affect whether or not you’d see it, PopWatchers?

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

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