|Beauty and the Beast|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bill Condon|
|Music by||Alan Menken|
|Edited by||Virginia Katz|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$541.2 million|
Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 American musical romantic fantasy film directed by Bill Condon from a screenplay written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. A co-production between Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films, the film is a live-action and computer animation remake of Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name, itself an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's eighteenth-century fairy tale. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the titular characters with Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson in supporting roles.
In the film, a young woman, Belle, is imprisoned in an enchanted castle by the fearsome Beast, a prince cursed by a sorceress as penance for his callousness. She is also pursued by Gaston, a narcissistic hunter who wants her hand in marriage, leading to a confrontation with the Beast.
Principal photography began at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England on May 18, 2015, and ended on August 21. Beauty and the Beast premiered on February 23, 2017, at Spencer House in London and was released in North America on March 17, 2017, in the standard, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D formats along with Dolby Cinema. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $541 million worldwide on a $160 million production budget.
In France during the 1780s, an enchantress disguised as a beggar arrives at a debutante ball and offers an enchanted rose to a prince in exchange for shelter from a storm, but he refuses. For his selfishness, the enchantress transforms him into a beast to match his inhumane character and the servants into inanimate objects, and erases the castle from the villagers' memories. She gives the Beast a magic mirror that shows faraway events. To break the spell, the prince must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the rose's last petal falls.
Years later, in the village of Villeneuve, a young woman, Belle, lives with her father Maurice, an artist and tinkerer. Gaston, a celebrated former soldier, seeks her hand in marriage, but she is repulsed by his arrogance and narcissism. On a trip to the market to sell music boxes, Maurice and his horse Philippe lose their way in the forest and are attacked by wolves. They seek refuge at the castle, only for Maurice to be imprisoned by the Beast as penance for taking a rose from the garden. The Beast accepts Belle's offer to take her father's place.
Belle wanders into the forbidden west wing and finds the rose. The Beast, enraged, frightens Belle into fleeing into the woods. He rescues her from a pack of wolves but is injured during the fight. Belle assists him to the castle and nurses him back to health. A friendship develops, and the servants tell her she may be the one who can break the curse. The Beast develops feelings for Belle and allows her access to his library. Belle remains uncertain of her feelings due to her imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Maurice returns to Villeneuve but is unable to convince the others to rescue Belle. Gaston agrees to help Maurice rescue Belle, but when he reveals his true intentions, to marry Belle, Maurice refuses. Gaston leaves him in the forest to die. Maurice is rescued by a hermit, Agathe, and openly accuses Gaston of his crime, but Gaston pays Monsieur D'Arque to send Maurice to the town's insane asylum.
After sharing a romantic dance with the Beast, Belle discovers her father's predicament using the magic mirror. The Beast allows her to leave to save Maurice, giving her the mirror to look back on him with. At Villeneuve, Belle proves Maurice's sanity by revealing the Beast in the mirror. Realizing that Belle loves the Beast, Gaston has her thrown into asylum with her father and rallies the villagers to follow him to the castle to slay the Beast. Maurice and Belle escape from confinement and Belle follows.
During the ensuing fight, Gaston abandons his companion LeFou, who sides with the servants to fend off the villagers. Gaston attacks the Beast in his tower, who is initially too depressed to fight back, but regains his will upon seeing Belle return. He corners Gaston but spares his life before reuniting with Belle. However, Gaston fatally shoots the Beast in the back before falling off the tower to his death. The Beast dies as the last rose petal falls and Belle professes her love to him. Agathe reveals herself as the enchantress and undoes the curse, restoring the Beast's life and human form. The servants' forms and the villagers' memories are also restored. The prince and Belle host a ball for the village, where they dance happily.
Disney had begun work on a film adaptation of the 1994 Broadway musical. However, in a 2011 interview, composer Alan Menken stated the planned film version of the Beauty and the Beast stage musical "was canned".
By April 2014, Walt Disney Pictures had already begun developing a new live-action version and remake of Beauty and the Beast after making other live-action fantasy films such as Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book. In June 2014, Bill Condon was signed to direct the film, with a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos. Later in September of that same year, Stephen Chbosky (who had previously directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower) was hired to re-write the script.
Before Condon was hired to direct the film, Disney approached him with a proposal to remake the film in a more radical way as Universal Studios had remade Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). Condon said in an interview, "after Frozen opened, the studio saw that there was this big international audience for an old-school-musical approach. But initially they said, 'We're interested in a musical to a degree, but only half full of songs.' My interest was taking that film and doing it in this new medium — live-action — as a full-on musical movie. So I backed out for a minute, and they came back and said, 'No, no, no, we get it, let's pursue it that way.'"
In January 2015, Emma Watson announced that she would be starring as Belle, the female lead. Two months later, in March, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens were revealed to be in talks to play Gaston and the Beast respectively, and Watson confirmed their casting the following day through tweets. The rest of the principal cast – Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci – were announced between March and April of that same year to play LeFou, Mrs. Potts, Maurice, Madame de Garderobe, Cogsworth, Plumette, Lumière and Cadenza, respectively.
Susan Egan, who originated the role of Belle on Broadway, commented on the casting of Watson as "perfect". Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle in the original animated film and its sequels, offered to help Watson with her singing lessons.
According sources obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Emma Watson was paid a reported $3 million upfront and that her final pay might rise to $15 million if the film generates an income similar to Maleficent's $759 million worldwide gross.
Principal photography on the film began at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England, on May 18, 2015. Filming with the principal actors concluded on August 21. Six days later, co-producer Jack Morrissey confirmed that the film had officially wrapped production.
When released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast marked a turning point for Walt Disney Pictures by appealing to millions of fans with its Oscar-winning musical score by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken. In Bill Condon's opinion, that original score was the key reason he agreed to direct a live-action version of the movie. "That score had more to reveal", he says, "You look at the songs and there's not a clunker in the group. In fact, Frank Rich described it as the best Broadway musical of 1991. The animated version was already darker and more modern than the previous Disney fairytales. Take that vision, put it into a new medium, make it a radical reinvention, something not just for the stage because it's not just being literal, now other elements come into play. It's not just having real actors do it".
Condon initially prepared on only drawing inspiration from the original film, but he also planned to include most of the Menken/Ashman songs from the Broadway musical, with the intention of making the film as a "straight-forward, live-action, large-budget movie musical". Menken returned to score the film's music, which features songs from the original film by him and Howard Ashman, plus new material written by Menken and Tim Rice. Menken said the film will not include songs that were written for the Broadway musical and instead, created four new songs. However, an instrumental version of the song "Home", which was written for the musical, is used during the scene where Belle first enters her room in the castle.
On January 19, 2017, it was confirmed by both Disney and Céline Dion - singer of the original 1991 Beauty and the Beast duet song, with singer Peabo Bryson - that Dion would be performing one of the new original songs "How Does a Moment Last Forever" to play over the end titles. Also, Josh Groban was announced to be performing the new original song "Evermore" on January 26, 2017.
The 2017 film features a remake of the 1991 original song Beauty and the Beast recorded as a duet by Ariana Grande and John Legend. Grande and Legend's updated version of the Beauty and the Beast title song is faithful to the original, Grammy-winning duet, performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson for the 1991 Disney classic.
On March 5, 2017, Disney debuted the music video for Ariana Grande and John Legend's interpretation of the new Beauty and the Beast song on Disney's Freeform television network, and it has since attained over 30 million video views on the Vevo video hosting service.
The world premiere of Beauty and the Beast took place on February 23, 2017, at Spencer House in London, England; and the film later premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on March 2, 2017. The stream was broadcast onto YouTube.
Disney spent around $140 million for marketing the film worldwide. Following an announcement on May 22, 2016, Disney premiered the first official teaser trailer on Good Morning America the next day. In its first 24 hours, the teaser trailer reached 91.8 million views, which topped the number of views seen in that amount of time in history, including for the teasers for other films distributed by Disney such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The first official teaser poster was released on July 7, 2016. On November 2, 2016, Entertainment Weekly debuted the first official image on the cover of their magazine for the week along with nine new photos as well. One week later, Emma Watson and Disney debuted a new poster for the film. On November 14, 2016, the first theatrical trailer was released again on Good Morning America. The trailer reached 127.6 million views in its first 24 hours, setting a new record as the trailer with the most views in one day, beating out Fifty Shades Darker. This record has since been broken again by The Fate of the Furious. A TV spot with Watson singing was shown during the 74th Golden Globe Awards. Disney released the final trailer on January 30, 2017.
As of March 24, 2017[update], Beauty and the Beast has grossed $252.2 million in the United States and Canada and $289 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $541.2 million. With a production budget of $160 million it is the most expensive musical ever made; only Hello, Dolly! (1969) with a budget of $25 million ($165 million in 2016 dollars) cost more. Worldwide, the film proved to be a global phenomenon as it earned a total of $357 million on its four day opening weekend from 56 markets. Critics said the film was playing like superhero movies amongst women. That's the second biggest March global opening, behind only Batman v Superman, the thirteenth-biggest worldwide opening ever and the seventh-biggest for Disney. This includes $21 million from IMAX plays on 1,026 screens, a new record for an IMAX PG title. It surpassed the entire lifetime total of the original film in just six days.
Beauty and the Beast is the 300th digitally remastered release in IMAX company's history which began with the re-release of Apollo 13 in 2002. Its robust global debut helped push the company past $6 billion for the first time, and led to analysts believing that the film has a shot of passing $1 billion worldwide from theatrical earnings.
In the United States and Canada, Beauty and the Beast topped Fandango's pre-sales and became the fastest-selling family film in the company's history, topping the studio's own animated film Finding Dory released the previous year. Early tracking had the film grossing around $100 million in its opening weekend, with some publications predicting it could reach $130 million. By the time the film's release was 10 days away, analysts raised projections to as high as $150 million. It earned $16.3 milion from Thursday previews night, marking the biggest of 2017 (breaking Logan's record), the biggest ever for a Disney live-action film (breaking Maleficent's record), the second biggest ever for both a G or PG-rated film (behind the sixth Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which also starred Watson), and the third biggest ever in the month of March (behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Hunger Games). An estimated 41% of the gross came from IMAX, 3D and premium large format screenings which began at 6 pm, while the rest – 59% – came from regular 2D shows which began at 7 pm. The numbers were considered more impressive given that the film played during a school week.
On its opening day, the film made $63.8 million from 4,210 theaters across 9,200 screens, marking the third biggest in the month of March, trailing behind Batman v Superman ($81.5 million) and The Hunger Games ($67 million). It was also the biggest opening day ever for a film that wasn't PG-13, displacing the $58 million opening Wednesday of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Its opening day alone (which includes Thursday's previews) almost matched the entire opening weekend of previous Disney live-action films, Maleficent ($69 million) and Cinderella ($67 million). Unlike all previous four Disney live-action films witnessing a hike on their second day, Saturday, Beauty and the Beast actually fell -2%, but nevetheless, the dip was paltry, and the grosses are so much bigger compared to the other titles. Earning a total of $174.8 million on its opening weekend, it defied all expectations and went on to set numerous notable records. This includes the biggest opening of the year as well as the biggest for the month of March and pre-summer/Spring opening, beating Batman v Superman, the biggest start ever for a PG title (also for a family film), surpassing Finding Dory, the biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film, ahead of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the biggest for a Disney live action adaptation, ahead of Alice in Wonderland and the biggest musical debut ever, supplanting Pitch Perfect 2. Furthermore, it is also Watson's highest-opening of all-time, beating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 same with Emma Thompson, director Bill Condon's biggest debut ever ahead of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 and the biggest outside of summer, save for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not accounting for inflation.
It became the forty-third film to debut with over $100 million and the fifteenth film to open above $150 million. Its three day opening alone surpassed the entire original North American run of the first film ($146 million; before the 3D re-release), instantly became the second biggest film of the year, behind Logan ($184 million), and also the second highest-grossing musical, just behind Grease's $188 million cumulative gross in 1978. 70% of the total ticket sales came from 2D showings signifying that people who don't go to theaters frequently came out in bulk to watch the film. About 26% of the remaining tickets were for 3D. IMAX accounted for 7% ($12.5 million) of the total weekend's gross, setting a new record for a PG title, ahead of Alice in Wonderland ($12.1 million) while PLF repped 11% of the box office. Females represented a staggering 70% of the film's total demographic on its opening day which eased out to 60% through the entire weekend. According polling service PostTrak, about 84 percent of American parents who saw the film on its opening day said they would “definitely” recommend it for families.
On Monday, its fourth day of release, the film fell precipitously by 72% earning $13.5 million. The steep fall was due to a limited marketplace where only 11% K-12 and 15% colleges were off per ComScore. Nevertheless, it is the second biggest March Monday, behind Batman v Superman ($15 million). This was followed by the biggest March and pre-summer Tuesday with $17.8 million, a +32% increase from its previous day. The same day, the film passed $200 million in ticket sales.
Internationally, the film began playing on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Through Sunday, March 19, it had a total international opening of $182.3 million from 55 markets, 44 of which were major territories, far exceeding initial estimations of $100 million and opened at No. 1 in virtually all markets save Vietnam, Turkey and India. Its launch is the second bigget for the month of March, behind Batman v Superman ($256.5 million). In IMAX, it made a recorded the biggest debut for a PG title with $8.5 million from 649 screens, the second biggest for a PG title behind The Jungle Book.
It scored the biggest opening day of the year in Hong Kong and the Philippines, the biggest March Thursday in Italy ($1 million, also the biggest Disney Thursday debut), the biggest March opening day in Austria, and the second biggest in Germany ($1.1 million), Disney's biggest March in Denmark, the biggest Disney live-action debut in China ($12.6 million), the UK ($6.2 million), Mexico ($2.4 million) and Brazil ($1.8 million) and the third biggest in South Korea with $1.2 million, behind only Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In terms of opening weekend, the largest debut came from China ($44.8 million), followed by the UK ($24.3 million), Korea ($11.8 million), Mexico ($11.8 million), Brazil ($11 million), Germany ($10.7 million) Italy ($7.6 million), Russia ($6 million) and Spain ($5.8 million).
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the film recorded the biggest opening ever for a PG film, the biggest Disney live-action opening of all time, the biggest March opening weekend, the biggest opening for a musical (ahead of Les Misérables), the number one opening of 2017 to date and the fifth-biggest ever overall with £19.7 million ($24.5 million) from 639 theatres and almost twice that of The Jungle Book (£9.9 million). This included the second biggest Saturday ever (£7.9 million), only behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In India, despite facing heavy competitions from four new Hindi releases, two Tamils films and a Malayalam and a Punjabi release, the film managed to take an occupancy of 15% on its opening day, an impressive feat despite such tremendous competitions. It earned around ₹1.5 crore (US$220,000) nett on its opening day from an estimated 600 screens which is more than the three Hindi releases – Machine, Trapped and Aa Gaya Hero – combined. Disney reported a total of ₹9.26 crore (US$1.4 million) gross for its opening weekend there. It was ahead of all new releases and second overall behind Bollywood film Badrinath Ki Dulhania. In Russia, despite receiving a restrictive 16 rating, the film managed to deliver a very successful opening with $6 million.
In China, expectations were high for the film. The release date was announced on January 24, giving Disney and local distributor China Film Group Corporation ample time – around two months – to market the film nationwide. The release date was strategically chosen to coincide with the White Day. Preliminary reports suggested that it could open to $40–60 million in its opening weekend. Largely driven by young women, its opening day pre-sales outpaced that of The Jungle Book. The original film was however never popular in the country. Although China has occasionally blocked gay-themed content from streaming video services, in this case, Chinese censors decided to leave the gay scene intact. According to local box office tracker Ent Group, the film grossed an estimated $12.1 million on its opening day (Friday), representing 70% of the total receipts. Including previews, it made a total of $14.5 million from 100,000 screenings, which is 43% of all screenings in the country. It climbed to $18.5 million on Saturday (102,700 showings) for a three day total of $42.6 million, securing 60% of the total marketplace. Disney on the other hand reported a different figure of $44.8 million. Either ways, it recorded the second biggest opening for a Disney live-action film, with $3.4 million coming from 386 IMAX screens.
The only markets where the film did not top the weekend charts were Vietnam (behind Kong: Skull Island), Turkey (with two local movies and Logan ahead) and India (where Badrinath Ki Dulhania retained No. 1). Next weekend it will open in France, Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, Trinidad and Argentina, followed by Malaysia on March 31 and Japan – a huge Disney market – on April 21.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 70% based on 234 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 65 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". In CinemaScore polls, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Owen Gleiberman of Variety, in his positive review of the film, wrote: "It's a lovingly crafted movie, and in many ways a good one, but before that it's an enraptured piece of old-is-new nostalgia." A. O. Scott of The New York Times praised the performances of both Watson and Stevens, and wrote: "It looks good, moves gracefully and leaves a clean and invigorating aftertaste. I almost didn't recognize the flavor: I think the name for it is joy." Mike Ryan of Uproxx praised the cast, production design and songs while noting the film doesn't try anything different, saying: "There's certainly nothing that new about this version of Beauty and the Beast (well, except it isn't a cartoon anymore), but it's a good recreation of a classic animated film that should leave most die-hards satisfied."
Conversely, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune said the adaption got lost in translation, writing, "The movie takes our knowledge and our interest in the material for granted. It zips from one number to another, throwing a ton of frenetically edited eye candy at the screen, charmlessly."
In the film, LeFou was said to be given a "gay moment" by director Bill Condon when he winks during the song "Gaston". This comes during the lyric "You can ask any Tom, Dick or Stanley and they'll tell you whose team they prefer to be on!" The wink that LeFou gives during this lyric leads to innuendo of a team being sexual orientation. The film's ending also features LeFou dancing with another man. In an interview with Vulture.com, Condon stated, "Can I just say, I’m sort of sick of this. Because you’ve seen the movie — it’s such a teeny thing, and it’s been overblown." Condon also added that Beauty and the Beast features much more diversity than just the highly-talked-about LeFou: “That was so important. We have interracial couples — this is a celebration of everybody’s individuality, and that’s what’s exciting about it.”
The Russian government considered banning the film, but instead decided that no one under the age of 16 would be admitted to see it in theaters without accompanying adults. Additionally, a theater in Henagar, Alabama will not screen the film because of the subplot. In Malaysia, the Film Censorship Board insisted the "gay moment" scene be cut, prompting an indefinite postponement of its release by Disney, followed by their decision to withdraw it completely if it could not be released uncensored. The studio moved the release date to March 30, to allow more time for Malaysia's censor board to make a decision on whether or not to release the film without changes and will be released on the said date with a PG-13 rating but with no cuts. In the end, the Malaysian Censorship Board decided not to ban the film.
There were also a number of boycotts against the film. A call to boycott on LifePetitions received over 129,000 signatures, while the American Family Association featured a petition to boycott with over 50,000 signers.
Disney has sought to portray Belle as an empowered young woman, but some critics say that the core proposition of the film: that it’s possible to fall in love with someone who’s holding you prisoner is problematic. Emma Watson studied whether Belle is trapped in an abusive relationship with the Beast before signing on and concluded that she doesn’t think the criticism fits this version of the folk tale. Psychiatrist Frank Ochberg, who coined the term, Stockholm’s Syndrome, said he does not think Belle exhibits the trauma symptoms of prisoners suffering from the syndrome. Some therapists acknowledge that while not meeting the definition of Stockholm's syndrome, the relationship depicted does not model healthy romantic relationships for young viewers. Beauty and the Beast was a fairy tale originally written to prepare young girls in 18th century France for arranged marriages, and that power disparity is amplified in the Disney version. The Beast does not apologize to Belle for imprisoning, hurting, or manipulating her, and his treatment of Belle is not painted as wrong.