Beauty and the Beast (2017 film)

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Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast 2017 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bill Condon
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on
Starring
Music by Alan Menken
Cinematography Tobias A. Schliessler
Edited by Virginia Katz
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • February 23, 2017 (2017-02-23) (Spencer House)
  • March 17, 2017 (2017-03-17) (United States)
Running time
129 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $160 million[4]
Box office $1.223 billion[a]

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, and co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films.[5] The film is based on Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name, itself an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's eighteenth-century fairy tale.[6] 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.[7]

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 the United States on March 17, 2017, in the standard, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D formats along with Dolby Cinema.[8] The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences and has grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide, surpassing the original film, making it the highest-grossing film of 2017 and the 10th highest-grossing film of all time.

Plot[edit]

In Rococo-era France, an enchantress disguised as a beggar arrives at a ball and offers the host, a coldhearted prince, a rose for shelter. When he refuses, she transforms him into a monstrous beast and his servants into household objects, and erases the castle from the memories of their loved ones. She casts a spell on the rose and warns the prince that, unless he learns to love another and earn their love in return before the last petal falls, he and his servants will lose their humanity forever.

Years later, in the village of Villeneuve, Belle dreams of adventure and brushes off advances from Gaston, an arrogant former soldier. Lost in the forest, Belle's father Maurice seeks refuge in the Beast's castle, but the Beast imprisons him for stealing a rose. Belle ventures out in search for him and finds him locked in the castle dungeon. The Beast agrees to let her take Maurice's place.

Belle befriends the castle's servants, who treat her to a spectacular dinner. When she wanders into the forbidden west wing and finds the rose, the Beast, enraged, scares her into the woods. She is cornered by wolves, but the Beast rescues her and is injured in the process. A friendship develops as Belle nurses his wounds. The Beast shows Belle a gift from the enchantress, a book that transports readers wherever they want. Belle uses it to visit her childhood home in Paris, where she discovers a plague doctor mask. She realizes that she and her father were forced to leave her mother's deathbed as she succumbed to the plague.

In Villeneuve, Gaston sees rescuing Belle as an opportunity to win her hand in marriage and agrees to help Maurice. When Maurice learns of his ulterior motive and rejects him, Gaston abandons him to the wolves. Maurice is rescued by a beggar, Agathe, but when he tells the townsfolk of Gaston's crime, Gaston convinces them to send him to an insane asylum.

After sharing a romantic dance with the Beast, Belle discovers her father's predicament using a magic mirror. The Beast releases her to save Maurice, giving her the mirror to remember him with. At Villeneuve, Belle proves Maurice's sanity by revealing the Beast in the mirror to the townsfolk. Realizing that Belle loves the Beast, Gaston has her thrown into the asylum carriage with her father and rallies the villagers to follow him to the castle to slay the Beast. Maurice and Belle escape and Belle rushes back to the castle.

During the battle, Gaston abandons his companion LeFou, who sides with the servants to fend off the villagers. Gaston attacks the Beast in his tower, who is too depressed to fight back, but regains his will upon seeing Belle return. He spares Gaston's life before reuniting with Belle. However, Gaston shoots the Beast from a bridge, but it collapses when the castle crumbles and he falls to his death. The Beast dies as the last petal falls and the servants become inanimate. When Belle tearfully professes her love to him, Agathe reveals herself as the enchantress and undoes the curse, repairing the crumbling castle and restoring the Beast's and servants' human forms and the villagers' memories. The Prince and Belle host a ball for the kingdom, where they dance happily.

Cast[edit]

  • Emma Watson as Belle – a beautiful and young bibliophile from the village of Villeneuve who develops feelings for the Beast and begins to see the humanity within him.
    • Daisy Duczmal portrays an infant Belle.
  • Dan Stevens as The Prince / Beast – a cold-hearted prince who is transformed into a hideous beast and forced to earn back his humanity by learning to truly love and be loved in return.[9][10]
    • Rudi Goodman portrays the Prince as a child whilst Adam Mitchell provides his singing voice.
  • Luke Evans as Gaston – a narcissistic and arrogant war veteran and hunter who is obsessed with Belle and willing to go as far as it takes to have her as his trophy wife.
  • Kevin Kline as Maurice – Belle's eccentric and overprotective widowed father.[11]
    • Jolyon Coy portrays the young Maurice.
  • Josh Gad as LeFou – Gaston's flamboyant and long-suffering sidekick who bolsters his friend's ego but gets very little in return.[12]
  • Ewan McGregor as Lumière – the Beast's charismatic bouteiller who has been transformed into a candelabra.[13]
  • Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza – the neurotic court composer and Madame de Garderobe's husband who has been transformed into a harpsichord.[14]
  • Ian McKellen as Cogsworth – the Beast's gruff but loyal majordomo and the head of the household staff who has been transformed into a mantel clock.[15]
  • Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts – the castle's motherly head housekeeper who has been transformed into a teapot.[11]
  • Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe – a world-renowned opera singer and Cadenza's wife who has been transformed into a wardrobe.[16]
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette – one of the castle maids and Lumière's lover who has been transformed into a feather duster.[17]
  • Nathan Mack as Chip – Mrs. Potts' plucky son who has been transformed into a teacup.[18]
  • Hattie Morahan as Agathe – an impoverished hermit and resident of Villeneuve who, in reality, is the Enchantress responsible for cursing the Prince.[19] Morahan also narrates the prologue.
    • Rita Davies appears as the Enchantress' old beggar woman form at the beginning of the film.
  • Adrian Schiller as Monsieur D'Arque – the warden of the local asylum who is bribed by Gaston to have Maurice institutionalized.[19]
  • Gerard Horan as Monsieur Jean Potts – an absent-minded potter and resident of Villeneuve who is later revealed to be Mrs. Potts' husband and Chip's father.
  • Haydn Gwynne as Clothilde - a resident of Villeneuve who is later revealed to be Cogsworth's wife.
  • Michael Jibson as the Tavern Keeper - the owner and keeper of Villeneuve's local tavern where Gaston and the village residents drink.
  • Ray Fearon as Père Robert – Villeneuve's local chaplain who encourages Belle to borrow the books in the chapel's meager library.
  • Sophie Reid, Rafaëlle Cohen, and Carla Nella as the Bimbettes – a trio of women who fawn over Gaston.
  • Jimmy Johnston, Dean Street, and Alexis Loizon as Tom, Dick, and Stanley – a trio of men who serve as Gaston's henchmen.
  • Zoe Rainey as Belle's mother – Maurice's late wife who contracted the plague and died when Belle was an infant.
  • Clive Rowe as Cuisinier – the castle's head chef who has been transformed into a stove.
  • Thomas Padden as Chapeau – the Prince's valet who has been transformed into a coat rack.
  • Henry Garrett as The King – The Prince's father who, following his wife's death, raised his son to be just as selfish and arrogant as he was.
  • Harriet Jones as The Queen – The Prince's mother who died of an illness when he was a child.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Previously, Disney had begun work on a film adaptation of the 1994 Broadway musical.[20][21] However, in a 2011 interview, composer Alan Menken stated the planned film version of the Beauty and the Beast stage musical "was canned".[22]

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.[23] In June 2014, Bill Condon was signed to direct the film from a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos.[24] 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.[25]

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 later explained that "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.'"[26] Walt Disney Pictures president of production Sean Bailey credited Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn with the decision to make the film as a musical: "We worked on this for five or six years, and for 18 months to two years, Beauty was a serious dramatic project, and the scripts were written to reflect that. It wasn't a musical at that time. But we just couldn't get it to click and it was Alan Horn who championed the idea of owning the Disney of it all. We realized there was a competitive advantage in the songs. What is wrong with making adults feel like kids again?"[27]

Casting[edit]

In January 2015, Emma Watson announced that she would be starring as Belle, the female lead.[28] Watson was the first choice of Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn, as he had previously oversaw Warner Bros. which released the eight Harry Potter films that co-starred Watson as Hermione Granger.[27] Two months later, in March, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens were revealed to be in talks to play Gaston and the Beast respectively,[29][30] and Watson confirmed their casting the following day through tweets.[9][31] 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.[12][11][16][15][17][13][14][32]

Susan Egan, who originated the role of Belle on Broadway, commented on the casting of Watson as "perfect".[33] Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle in the original animated film and its sequels, offered to help Watson with her singing lessons.[34]

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emma Watson was reportedly paid $3 million upfront, together with an agreement that her final take-home pay could rise as high as $15 million if the film generated gross box office income similar to Maleficent's $759 million worldwide gross.[35]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film began at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England, on May 18, 2015.[11][36][37] Filming with the principal actors concluded on August 21.[38][39] Six days later, co-producer Jack Morrissey confirmed that the film had officially wrapped production.[40]

The Beast was portrayed with a “more traditional motion capture puppeteering for the body and the physical orientation", where actor Dan Stevens was "in a forty-pound gray suit on stilts for much of the film". The facial capture for the Beast was done separately order to "communicate the subtleties of the human face" and "[capture the] thought that occurs to him" which gets "through [to] the eyes, which are the last human element in the Beast.” The castle servants transformed into household objects were created with CGI animation.[6]

Music[edit]

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".[41]

Condon initially prepared on only drawing inspiration from the original film, but he also planned to include most of the songs composed by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice from the Broadway musical, with the intention of making the film as a "straight-forward, live-action, large-budget movie musical".[42] 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.[43] Menken said the film will not include songs that were written for the Broadway musical and instead, created four new songs.[44] 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.[45]

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.[46] She originally had doubts about whether or not to record the song due to the recent death of her husband and manager René Angélil, who had previously helped her secure the 1991 pop duet. While ultimately accepting the opportunity, she said: "[The] first Beauty and the Beast decision was made with my husband. Now I'm making decisions on my own. It's a little bit harder. I couldn't say yes right away, because I felt like I was kind of cheating in a way".[18] She eventually felt compelled to record the song because of the impact Beauty and the Beast has had on her career. According to her, "I was at the beginning of my career, it put me on the map, it put me where I am today".[9] Also, Josh Groban was announced to be performing the new original song "Evermore" on January 26, 2017.[47][48][49][50]

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.[51][52] 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.[53]

Emma Thompson also performed a rendition of "Beauty and the Beast", which was performed by Angela Lansbury in the original 1991 animated film release.[54]

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 on March 5, 2017, and it has since attained over 85 million video views on the Vevo video hosting service.[54]

Release[edit]

On March 16, 2015, Disney announced the film would be released in 3D on March 17, 2017.[11] The first official presentation of the film took place at Disney's three-day D23 Expo in August 2015.[55]

The world premiere of Beauty and the Beast took place on February 23, 2017, at Spencer House in London, England;[56] and the film later premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on March 2, 2017. The stream was broadcast onto YouTube.

Sing Along[edit]

A sing along version of the film released in over 1,200 US theaters nationwide on April 7, 2017.[57] The United Kingdom received the same version on April 21, 2017.[citation needed]

Marketing[edit]

Disney spent around $140 million for marketing the film worldwide.[58] Following an announcement on May 22, 2016,[59] Disney premiered the first official teaser trailer on Good Morning America the next day.[60] 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 Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Captain America: Civil War.[61] The first official teaser poster was released on July 7, 2016.[62] 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.[63][64] One week later, Emma Watson and Disney debuted a new poster for the film.[65] On November 14, 2016, the first theatrical trailer was released again on Good Morning America.[66] 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.[67] This record has since been broken again by The Fate of the Furious.[68] A TV spot with Watson singing was shown during the 74th Golden Globe Awards.[69] Disney released the final trailer on January 30, 2017.[70]

Home media[edit]

Beauty and the Beast is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on June 6, 2017.[71]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Worldwide, Beauty and the Beast is Emma Watson's second highest-grossing film ever, behind only the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.[72]

As of May 25, 2017, Beauty and the Beast has grossed $499 million in the United States and Canada and $724.1 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $1.223 billion.[a] 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.[4] In just ten days, it became the highest-grossing live-action musical of all time, beating the nine-year-old record held by Mamma Mia!. It is currently the second biggest musical ever overall, behind Disney's Frozen (2013).[73] Worldwide, the film proved to be a global phenomenon, earning a total of $357 million over its four-day opening weekend from 56 markets. Critics said the film was playing like superhero movies amongst women. It was the second biggest March global opening, behind only Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the thirteenth-biggest worldwide opening ever and the seventh-biggest for Disney.[74] This includes $21 million from IMAX plays on 1,026 screens, a new record for an IMAX PG title.[75] It surpassed the entire lifetime total of the original film in just six days.[76][77]

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,[78] and led to analysts believing that the film has a shot of passing $1 billion worldwide from theatrical earnings.[79][80][81][82] On April 12, it finally passed the $1 billion threshold, becoming the first film of 2017, the fourteenth Disney film and the twenty-ninth film overall to pass the mark. It became the first film since Rogue One (also a Disney property) in December 2016 to make over a billion dollars, and did so on its twenty-ninth day of release.[83][84][85] It is currently the highest-grossing film of 2017,[86] the highest-grossing March release,[87] the highest-grossing remake of all-time,[88] and the fifth biggest Disney film.[89] Even after inflation adjusted, it is still ahead of the $425 million gross ($760 million in 2017 dollars) of the original film.[88]

North America[edit]

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.[90][91][92] By the time the film's release was 10 days away, analysts raised projections to as high as $150 million.[93][94] 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).[95] 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 p.m.[96] The numbers were considered more impressive given that the film played during a school week.[97]

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).[98][99] 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 ($69.4 million) and Cinderella ($67.9 million).[100] Unlike all previous four Disney live-action films witnessing a hike on their second day, Saturday, Beauty and the Beast actually fell -2%, but nevertheless, the dip was paltry, and the grosses are so much bigger compared to the other titles.[78] Earning a total of $174.8 million on its opening weekend, it defied all expectations and went on to set numerous notable records.[101] 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,[102][103] the biggest start ever for a PG title (also for a family film), surpassing Finding Dory,[104] the biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film, ahead of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,[105] the biggest for a Disney live-action adaptation, ahead of Alice in Wonderland[105] 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.[101]

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 becoming the second biggest film of the year, behind Logan ($184 million), and also the second highest-grossing musical, behind Grease's $188 million cumulative gross in 1978.[106] 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.[78] Females represented a staggering 70% of the film's total demographic on its opening day which eased out to 60% through the entire weekend.[105] 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.[107][108] The film's huge opening was credited to positive word of mouth from audiences, good reviews from critics, effective marketing which sold the title not just as a kid-friendly film but also as a romantic drama, the cast's star power (especially Emma Watson), lack of competition, being the first family driven film since The Lego Batman Movie a month earlier, nostalgia, the success and ubiquity of the first film and Disney's brand.[107][109]

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).[110] 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.[111] It earned $228.6 million in the first week of release, the sixth-biggest seven-day gross of all time.[112] In its second weekend, the film continued to maintain the top positioning and fell gradually by 48% earning another $90.4 million to register the fourth-biggest second weekend of all time, and the third-biggest for Disney.[113] In terms of percentage drop, its 48% decline is the third-smallest drop for any film opening above $125 million (behind Finding Dory and The Force Awakens).[73] The hold was notable considering how the film was able to fend off three new wide release; Power Rangers, Life, and CHiPs.[114] As a result, it passed the $300 million threshold becoming the first film of 2017 the pass said mark.[115] The film grossed $45.4 million in its third weekend, finally being overtaken for the top spot by newcomer The Boss Baby ($50.2 million).[116] On April 4, 2017, its nineteenth day of release, it passed the $400 million threshold becoming the first film of 2017 to do so.[117] By its fourth weekend, the film began was playing in 3,969 cinemas, a fall of 241 theaters from its previous weekend. Of those, approximately 1,200 cinemas were sing-along versions. It earned $26.3 million (-48%) and retained second place. By comparison, previous Disney films Moana (−8%) and Frozen (−2%) both witnessed mild percentage declines the weekend their sing-alone versions were released.[118] Its seventh weekend of release was in contemporaneous with another Emma Watson-starring new film The Circle.[119] That weekend, The Circle was number four, while Beauty and the Beast was at number six.[120]

It has already become the biggest ever March release, dethroning The Hunger Games (2012),[121] as well as the biggest film of 2017.[122]

Outside North America[edit]

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 biggest for the month of March, behind Batman v Superman ($256.5 million). In IMAX, it recorded the biggest debut for a PG title (although it carried varying certificate amongst different markets) with $8.5 million from 649 screens, the second biggest for a PG title behind The Jungle Book.[123] In its second weekend, it fell just by -35% earning another $120.6 million and maintaining its first position hold. It added major markets like France and Australia.[124] It top the international box office for three consecutive weekends[125] before finally being dethroned by Ghost in the Shell and The Boss Baby in its fourth weekend. Despite the fall, the film helped Disney push past the $1 billion thresold internationally for the first time in 2017.[126][85]

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.[127][128] 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), Australia ($11.1 million), Brazil ($11 million), Germany ($10.7 million), France ($8.4 million), Italy ($7.6 million), Philippines ($6.3 million), Russia ($6 million) and Spain ($5.8 million).[123][124]

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).[129] This included the second biggest Saturday ever (£7.9 million), only behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[130] It witnessed a decent decline in its second weekend, earning £12.33 million ($15.4 million). Though the film was falling at a faster rate than The Jungle Book, it had already surpassed the said film and its sophomore weekend is the third biggest ever (behind the two James Bond films Skyfall (2012) and Spectre).[131][124] 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.[132][133][134] It earned around 1.5 crore (US$230,000) 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.[135] 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.[136][137][138] In Russia, despite receiving a restrictive 16 rating, the film managed to deliver a very successful opening with $6 million.[139]

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 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.[140] The original film was however never widely popular in the country.[141] 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.[142] 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.[143][144] Either ways, it recorded the second biggest opening for a Disney live-action film,[141] with $3.4 million coming from 386 IMAX screens.[123] Japan – a huge Disney market – served as the film's final market and opened there on April 21[124] It debuted with a better-than-expected $12.5 million on its opening weekend helping the film push past the $1.1 billion threshold. An estimated $1.1 million came from IMAX screenings, the fourth-biggest ever in the country.[145][146] The two day gross was $9.7 million, outstripping Frozen's previous record of $9.5 million.[147] Due to positive reviews, good word-of-mouth and benefitting from the Golden Week, the film saw a 9% increase on its second weekend. The hold was strong enough to fend off newcomer The Fate of the Furious from securing the top spot. The total there is now $71.5 million after four weekends[148][149][150] and is the biggest film release of the year and overall the eleventh biggest of all time.[151]

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).[123] It topped the box office for four straight weekends in Germany, Korea, Austria, Finland, Poland, Portugal, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Switzerland and the UK (exclusive of previews).[126][152] In the Philippines, it emerged as the most commercial successful film of all time – both local and foreign – with over $13.5 million.[153] In just five weeks, the film became one of the top 10 highest-grossing film of all time in the United Kingdom and Ireland, ahead of all but one Harry Potter film (Deathly Hallows – Part 2) and all three The Lord of the Rings movies (which also starred Ian McKellen).[154] It is currently the eighth biggest grosser with £70.1 million ($90 million), overtaking Mamma Mia! to become the biggest musical production ever there.[145][155] The biggest interntional earning markets following the UK are China ($85.8 million), Japan ($60.7 million), Brazil ($41 million), Korea ($37.6 million), and Australia ($35 million).[85] In Europe alone, the cumulative total is $267 million to become the second-highest-grossing film in the past 1 year (behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).[156][145][148]

Critical response[edit]

The film has received positive reviews, with critics praising the faithfulness to the animated film and elements of the Broadway musical version, performances, cast, setting, visuals, costume design, and songs, though the designs of the Beast and the servants' household object forms had some mixed reviews while the performances of Watson, Stevens, Evans, Gad, McGregor, Thompson, and Kline were repeatedly singled out for praise.[157][158] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 275 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."[159] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 65 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[160] In CinemaScore polls, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[161][162]

Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "It's a Michelin-triple-starred master class in patisserie skills that transforms the cinematic equivalent of a sugar rush into a kind of crystal-meth-like narcotic high that lasts about two hours." Felperin also praised the performances of Watson and Kline as well the special effects, costume designs and the sets while commended the inclusion of Gad's character of LeFou as the first LGBT character in Disney.[163] 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."[164] 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."[165] Likewise, The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday complimented Watson's performance, describing it as "alert and solemn" while noting her singing ability as "serviceable enough to get the job done".[166] Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three and a half stars, lauded the performances of Watson and Thompson which he drew a comparison to Paige O'Hara's and Angela Lansbury's performance in the 1991 animated version while appreciating the performances of the other cast and also pointing out on its usage of the combination of motion capture and CGI technology as a big advantage which he stated: "Almost overwhelmingly lavish, beautifully staged and performed with exquisite timing and grace by the outstanding cast".[167] Mike Ryan of Uproxx praised the cast, production design and the new 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."[168]

Brian Truitt of USA Today commended the performances of Evans, Gad, McGregor and Thompson alongside Condon's affinity with musicals, the production design, visual effects featured in some of the song numbers including new songs made by the composers Alan Menken and Tim Rice, particularly Evermore which he described the new song with an Oscar potential.[169] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone rated the film three out of four stars which he deemed it as an "exhilarating gift" while he remarked that "Beauty and the Beast does justice to Disney's animated classic, even if some of the magic is M.I.A (Missing in Action)."[170] Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine gave a positive review with a description as "Wild, Vivid and Crazy-Beautiful" as she wrote "Nearly everything about Beauty and the Beast is larger than life, to the point that watching it can be a little overwhelming." and added that "it’s loaded with feeling, almost like a brash interpretive dance expressing the passion and elation little girls (and some boys, too) must have felt upon seeing the earlier version."[171] The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle struck an affirmative tone, calling it one of the joys of 2017, stating that "Beauty and the Beast creates an air of enchantment from its first moments, one that lingers and builds and takes on qualities of warmth and generosity as it goes along" while referring the film as "beautiful" and also praised the film for its emotional and psychological tone as well Steven's motion capture performance.[172] Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph gave the film four stars out of five and wrote that "It dazzles on this chocolate box of a picture that feels almost greedy yet to make this film work, down to a sugar-rush finale to grasp the nettle and make an out-an-out, bells-and-whistles musical" while he praised the performances of Watson, McKellen, Thompson, McGregor, Evans and Gad.[173] Mark Hughes of Forbes also similarly praised the film which he wrote that "it could revive the story in a faithful but entirely new and unique way elevating the material beyond expectations, establishing itself as a cinematic equal to the original" and also complimented the importance of undertaking a renowned yet problematic masterpiece as well addressing changes in the elements of the story while acknowledging the film's effectiveness in resonating to the audiences.[174]

Several critics regarded the film as inferior to its 1991 animated predecessor. David Sims of The Atlantic wrote that the 2017 film "feels particularly egregious, in part, because it’s so slavishly devoted to the original; every time it falls short of its predecessor (which is quite often), it’s hard not to notice".[175] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune said that the 2017 film "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." Phillips wrote that the film featured some "less conspicuously talented" performers, particularly Watson, who are "stuck doing karaoke, or motion-capture work of middling quality", though he praised Kline's performance as the "best, sweetest thing in the movie; he brings a sense of calm, droll authority".[176] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian praised Watson's performance and wrote that the film was "lit in that fascinatingly artificial honey-glow light, and it runs smoothly on rails – the kind of rails that bring in and out the stage sets for the lucrative Broadway touring version." In the same newspaper, Wendy Ide criticized the film as "ornate to the point of desperation" in its attempt to emulate the animated film.[177][178]

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-, writing that while the film looks "exceptionally great", he sensed that the new songs were "not transporting". He felt the film needed more life and depth, but praised Watson's and Steven's performances as the "film’s stronger elements".[179] Dana Schwartz of the Observer felt that some of the characters, such as Gaston and the Beast, had been watered down from the 1991 film, and that the additional backstory elements failed to "advance the plot or theme in any meaningful way" while adding considerable bloat. Schwartz considered the singing of the cast to be adequate but felt that their voices should have been dubbed over, especially for the complex songs.[180]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
MTV Movie & TV Awards May 7, 2017 Movie of the Year Beauty and the Beast Won [181]
Best Actor in a Movie Emma Watson Won
Best Kiss Emma Watson and Dan Stevens Nominated
Best Duo Josh Gad and Luke Evans Nominated

Controversies[edit]

Gay character[edit]

In the film, LeFou was said to be given a "gay moment" by director Bill Condon when LeFou briefly waltzes with Stanley, one of Gaston's friends.[182] 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 tiny 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.”[183] GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised the move stating, "It is a small moment in the film, but it is a huge leap forward for the film industry."[184]

In Russia, Vitaly Milonov agitated the culture minister for banning the film,[185] but instead it was given a 16+ rating (children under the age of 16 can only be admitted to see it in theaters with accompanying adults).[186] Additionally, a theater in Henagar, Alabama did not screen the film because of the subplot.[187] 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.[188][189][190] 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.[191] The distributors and producers then submitted an appeal to the Film Appeal Committee of Malaysia, which allowed the film to be released without any cuts and a P13 rating on the grounds that the "gay element" was minor and did not affect the positive elements featured in the film.[192][193] In Kuwait, the movie was withdrawn from cinemas by National Cinema Company which owns most of the cinemas in the country. A board member of the company stated that the Ministry of Information's censorship department had requested it to stop its screening and edit it for things deemed offensive by it.[194]

There were also a number of boycotts against the film. A call to boycott on LifePetitions received over 129,000 signatures,[195] while the American Family Association featured a petition to boycott with the film, asking the public to help crowdfund a CGI version of Pilgrim's Progress instead.[196]

The Beast Imprisoning Belle[edit]

Disney has sought to portray Belle as an empowered young woman,[197] but a contention exists that the core proposition of the film—that it is possible to fall in love with someone who is holding you prisoner—is problematic.[198] As was the case with the original animated film, one argument is that Belle suffers from Stockholm syndrome (a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity). Emma Watson studied whether Belle is trapped in an abusive relationship with the Beast before signing on and concluded that she does not think the criticism fits this version of the folk tale.[199][200] Watson described Stockholm Syndrome as "where a prisoner will take on the characteristics of and fall in love with the captor. Belle actively argues and disagrees with [Beast] constantly. She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm Syndrome because she keeps her independence, she keeps that freedom of thought", also adding that Belle defiantly "gives as good as she gets" before forming a friendship and romance with the Beast.[201]

Psychiatrist Frank Ochberg, who coined the term "Stockholm syndrome", said he does not think Belle exhibits the trauma symptoms of prisoners suffering from the syndrome because she does not go through a period of feeling that she is going to die.[202] Some therapists, while acknowledging that the pairing's relationship does not meet the clinical definition of Stockholm syndrome, argue that the relationship depicted is dysfunctional and abusive and does not model healthy romantic relationships for young viewers.[203][204] Beauty and the Beast was a fairy tale originally written to prepare young girls in 18th century France for arranged marriages, and Constance Grady of Vox writes that that power disparity is amplified in the Disney version.[205] Anna Menta of Elite Daily argued that the Beast does not apologize to Belle for imprisoning, hurting, or manipulating her, and his treatment of Belle is not painted as wrong.[206]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Beauty and the Beast at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2017.

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External links[edit]