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. The film is a live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1991 animated film of the same name, itself an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s 18th-century fairy tale. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the eponymous 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.
Principal photography began at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, United Kingdom on May 18, 2015, and ended on August 21. With an estimated budget of around $255 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Beauty and the Beast premiered at Spencer House in London on February 23, 2017, and was released in the United States in standard, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D formats, along with Dolby Cinema on March 17, 2017.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising Watson and Stevens’s performances as well as the ensemble cast, faithfulness to the original animated film alongside elements from the Broadway musical, visual style, production values, and musical score, though it received criticism for some of the character designs and its excessive similarity to the original. The film grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing live-action musical film, and making it the second-highest-grossing film of 2017, the tenth-highest-ever-grossing film in North America and the 14th-highest-grossing film of all time. The film received four nominations at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards and two nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards. It also received Academy Award nominations for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design at the 90th Academy Awards.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 2.1 Cast notes
- 3 Production
- 3.1 Development
- 3.2 Casting
- 3.3 Filming
- 3.4 Music
- 4 Release
- 4.1 Marketing
- 4.2 Home media
- 5 Reception
- 5.1 Box office
- 5.1.1 United States and Canada
- 5.1.2 Other countries
- 5.2 Critical response
- 5.3 Accolades
- 5.1 Box office
- 6 Controversies
- 6.1 Gay character
- 6.2 Belle and the Beast’s relationship
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
A beautiful enchantress disguised as an old beggar woman arrives at a castle during a ball and offers the host, a cruel and selfish prince, a rose in return for shelter from a storm. When he refuses, she reveals her identity. To punish the prince for his lack of compassion, the enchantress transforms him into a beast and his servants into household objects, then erases the castle, the prince and his servants from the memories of their loved ones. She casts a spell on the rose and warns the prince that the curse will only be broken if he learns to love another, and earn their love in return, before the last petal falls.
Some years later, in the small town of Villeneuve, Belle, the book-loving daughter of a music box maker and artist Maurice, dreams of adventure and brushes off advances from Gaston, an arrogant former soldier. On his way to a convention and lost in the forest, Maurice seeks refuge in the Beast’s castle warming himself near the fire then being scared away by Chip after having some food, but the Beast imprisons him for stealing a rose from his garden as a gift to Belle. When Maurice’s horse returns without him, 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 invite her to a spectacular dinner. When she wanders into the forbidden west wing and finds the rose, the Beast scares her into the woods. She is ambushed by a pack of wolves, but the Beast rescues her, and is injured in the process. As Belle nurses his wounds, a friendship develops between them, also he shows her his library and gives it to her which makes her feel a different way towards the Beast unlike before. The Beast shows Belle a gift from the enchantress, a book that transports readers wherever they want. Belle uses the book to visit her childhood home in Paris, where she discovers a plague doctor mask and realizes that she and her father were forced to leave when her mother succumbed to the plague.
In Villeneuve, Maurice tries to convince the other villagers of the Beast and Belle’s imprisonment but no one believes him. Gaston, seeing rescuing Belle as an opportunity to win her hand in marriage, agrees to help Maurice. When Maurice learns of his ulterior motive and rejects him, Gaston abandons him to be eaten by the wolves. Maurice is rescued by the hermit Agathe, but when he tells the townsfolk of Gaston’s crime and is unable to provide solid evidence, Gaston convinces them to send Maurice 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 reveals the Beast in the mirror to the townsfolk, proving her father’s sanity. Realizing that Belle loves the Beast, a jealous Gaston claims she has been charmed by dark magic, and has her thrown into the asylum carriage with her father. He rallies the villagers to follow him to the castle to slay the Beast before he curses the whole village. Maurice and Belle escape, and Belle rushes back to the castle.
During the battle, Gaston abandons his companion LeFou, who then 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 spirit upon seeing Belle return. He defeats Gaston, but spares his life before reuniting with Belle. Ungrateful and unrepentant, Gaston fatally shoots the Beast from a bridge, but it collapses when the castle crumbles, and he falls to his death. The Beast tells Belle that he was happy to see her again then he dies as the last petal falls, and the servants become inanimate. As Belle tearfully professes her love to the Beast, Agathe reveals herself as the enchantress and undoes the curse, repairing the crumbling castle, as well reviving the Beast then turning him and his servants back into human, and restoring the villagers’ memories of their loved ones. The Prince and Belle host a ball for the villagers, where they dance happily.
- Emma Watson as Belle, a young benevolent bibliophile woman who develops feelings for the Beast and begins to see the humanity within him.
- Daisy Duczmal portrays an infant Belle.
- Dan Stevens as Beast, a cold-hearted, selfish, unkind prince who is transformed into a beast and forced to earn back his humanity by learning to truly love and be loved in return, as well as to give rather than take. Stevens portrays the character through motion-capture.
- Adam Mitchell portrays the younger version of the prince.
- Luke Evans as Gaston, a narcissistic and arrogant hunter and veteran of the French Royal Army who is willing to go as far as it takes to have Belle as his trophy wife.
- Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s protective widowed father who works as a music box maker and an artist.
- 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.
- Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the Beast’s charismatic bouteiller who has been transformed into a candelabra.
- Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the neurotic court composer and Madame de Garderobe’s husband who has been transformed into a harpsichord.
- Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, a world-renowned opera singer and Cadenza’s wife who has been transformed into a wardrobe.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, one of the castle maids and Lumière’s lover who has been transformed into a feather duster.
- 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.
- Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, the castle’s motherly head housekeeper who has been transformed into a teapot.
- Hattie Morahan as Agathe, an impoverished hermit and resident of Villeneuve who, in reality, is the enchantress responsible for cursing the Prince. Morahan also narrates the prologue.
- Rita Davies portrays the enchantress in her beggar woman form. The film was released posthumously after Davies’ death.
- Nathan Mack as Chip, Mrs. Potts’ plucky son who has been transformed into a teacup.
- Adrian Schiller as Monsieur D’Arque, the sly warden of the local asylum who is bribed by Gaston to have Maurice institutionalized.
- 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 fishmonger and 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 Village Lasses, a trio of women who fawn over Gaston and have a jealousy for Belle.
- 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.
- Gizmo as Frou-Frou, Maestro Cadenza’s and Madame de Garderobe’s pet Yorkshire Terrier who has been transformed into a footstool.
- Thomas Padden as Chapeau, the prince’s valet who has been transformed into a coat rack.
- Tom Turner 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.
- Dale Branston as Villeneuve’s residential baker.
- Chris Andrew Mellon as Nasty Headmaster, the unnamed headmaster of an all boys school in Villeneuve that disapproves of Belle teaching a young girl how to read.
- Vivian Parry as the Village Lass’ mother, an unnamed seamstress.
^ In the initial theatrical release, Mitchell was miscredited as Rudi Gooman in the cast, but listed under his real name in the soundtrack credits
^ In the initial theatrical release, Turner is miscredited as Henry Garrett in the cast.
Stephen Merchant also appeared in the film as Monsieur Toilette, a servant who was turned into a toilet. This character was cut from the film, but is featured in the deleted scenes.
Previously, 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 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 from 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 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.'” 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?”
In January 2015, Emma Watson announced that she would be starring as Belle, the female lead. She was the first choice of Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn, as he had previously overseen Warner Bros. which released the eight Harry Potter films that co-starred Watson as Hermione Granger. Two months later, 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, including Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci were announced between March and April 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 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.
Principal photography on the film began at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, United Kingdom, 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.
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 in 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 who are transformed into household objects were created with CGI animation.
Before the release of the film, Bill Condon refilmed one certain sequence in the “Days of the Sun” number, due to confusion among test audiences caused by actress Harriet Jones, who looked similar to Hattie Morahan, who portrayed Agathe. In the original version of the scene, it was Jones’s character, the Prince’s mother, who sings the first verse of the song, with Rudi Goodman playing the young Prince and Henry Garrett playing his father; but in the reshot version of the scene, the singing part is given to the Prince (now played by Adam Mitchell). The King was also recast to Tom Turner, although Harriet Jones was still the Queen, albeit with dark hair. Both Goodman and Garrett’s names were mistakenly featured in the original theatrical release’s credits, but was later corrected in home releases.
Main article: Beauty and the Beast (2017 soundtrack)
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 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”. 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 would 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. 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”. She eventually felt compelled to record the song because of the impact Beauty and the Beast has had on her career. According to Dion, “I was at the beginning of my career, it put me on the map, it put me where I am today”. 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 recorded as a duet by Ariana Grande and John Legend. Grande and Legend’s updated version of the title song is faithful to the original, Grammy-winning duet, performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson for the 1991 Disney film.
Disney debuted the music video for Ariana Grande and John Legend’s interpretation of the title song on Freeform television network on March 5, 2017, and it has since been viewed over 100 million views on the Vevo video-hosting service.
Emma Thompson also performed a rendition of the title song, which was performed by Angela Lansbury in the original 1991 animated film.
On March 16, 2015, Disney announced the film would be released in 3D on March 17, 2017. The first official presentation of the film took place at Disney’s three-day D23 Expo in August 2015.
The world premiere of Beauty and the Beast took place at Spencer House in London, United Kingdom on February 23, 2017; and the film later premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on March 2, 2017. The stream was broadcast onto YouTube.
A sing along version of the film released in over 1,200 US theaters nationwide on April 7, 2017. The United Kingdom received the same version on April 21, 2017.
The film was re-released in New York and Los Angeles for a one-week engagement starting December 1, 2017. The move was an awards push as awards season heats up.
Disney spent around $140 million to market 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 was the largest number ever seen for a trailer in that amount of time. This record has since been broken by Thor: Ragnarok, It and Avengers: Infinity War. 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, along with nine new photos. One week later, Emma Watson and Disney debuted a new poster. On November 14, 2016, the first theatrical trailer was released, again on Good Morning America. This reached 127.6 million views in its first 24 hours, setting a new record for the most views in one day, beating Fifty Shades Darker; this record has since been broken 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.
Beauty and the Beast was released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on June 6, 2017. The film debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan overall disc sales chart, with all other titles in the top 20, collectively, selling only 40% as many units as Beauty and the Beast. The movie regained the top spot on the national home video sales charts during its third week of release. The movie became available on Netflix on September 19, 2017.
Praised for her performance as Belle worldwide, Beauty and the Beast is Emma Watson’s highest-grossing film in the domestic side and second-highest-grossing film, behind only the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Beauty and the Beast grossed $504 million in the United States and Canada and $759.5 million in other countries for a worldwide gross of $1.263 billion. With a production budget of $254 million, it is the most expensive musical ever made. 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). 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. 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 was 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 had a shot of passing $1 billion worldwide from theatrical earnings. On April 12, it 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 29th day of release. It is currently the second-highest-grossing film of 2017 (behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi), the highest-grossing March release, the highest-grossing remake of all time, and the sixth-biggest Disney film. Even after inflation adjusted, it is still ahead of the $425 million gross ($760 million in 2017 dollars) of the original film. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $414.7 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues, making it the second-most profitable release of 2017.
United States and Canada
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 million 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 ($69.4 million) and Cinderella ($67.9 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, nevertheless, 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 until it was later surpassed by Incredibles 2 on the following year, 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, 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 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. Seventy percent 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. Seventy percent of the film’s opening day demographic was female, dropping to 60% through the 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. The film’s opening was credited to positive word of mouth from audiences, good reviews from critics, effective marketing which sold the title not just as a family film but also as a romantic drama, the cast’s star power (especially Emma Watson), lack of competition, being the first family film since The Lego Batman Movie a month earlier, nostalgia, and the success and ubiquity of the first film and Disney’s brand.
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. It earned $228.6 million in the first week of release, the sixth-biggest seven-day gross of all time. 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. 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). The hold was notable considering how the film was able to fend off three new wide releases: Power Rangers, Life, and CHiPs. As a result, it passed the $300 million threshold becoming the first film of 2017 the pass said mark. 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). On April 4, 2017, its nineteenth day of release, it passed the $400 million threshold becoming the first film of 2017 to do so. 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. Its seventh weekend of release was in contemporaneous with another Emma Watson-starring new film The Circle. That weekend, The Circle was number four, while Beauty and the Beast was at number six. By May 28, the film had earned over $500 million in ticket sales becoming the first film of 2017 (until it was later surpassed by The Last Jedi), the third female-fueled film (after The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story followed by Wonder Woman and The Last Jedi) and the eighth overall film in cinematic history to pass the mark.
It has already become the biggest March release, dethroning The Hunger Games (2012), the biggest musical film (both animated and live-action), as well as the biggest film of 2017 (alongside The Last Jedi).
Outside the US and Canada, 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 except 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-rated 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. 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. It topped the international box office for three consecutive weekends 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.
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), 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).
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the film recorded the biggest opening ever for a PG-rated film, the biggest Disney live-action opening of all time, the biggest March opening weekend, the biggest opening for a musical (ahead of 2012’s 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. It witnessed a 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 second weekend is the third-biggest ever (behind the two James Bond films Skyfall (2012) and Spectre). 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 tremendous competitions. It earned around ₹15 million (US$210,000) 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 ₹92.6 million (US$1.3 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 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 widely 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. Japan—a huge Disney market—served as the film’s final market and opened there on April 21. 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. The two-day gross was $9.7 million, outstripping Frozen's previous record of $9.5 million. 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 over $98 million after seven weekends and is the biggest film release of the year and, overall, the eleventh-biggest of all time. It topped the box office there for eight consecutive weekends.
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). 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). In the Philippines, it emerged as the most successful commercial film of all time—both local and foreign—with over $13.5 million. 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). It is currently the eighth-biggest grosser with £70.1 million ($90 million), overtaking Mamma Mia! to become the biggest musical production ever there. The biggest international earning markets following the UK are Japan ($108 million), China ($85.8 million), Brazil ($41.5 million), Korea ($37.5 million), and Australia ($35 million). In Europe alone, the cumulative total is $267 million, which led it to become the second-highest-grossing film in the past year (behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Beauty and the Beast received generally positive reviews, with praise for its ensemble cast, visuals, production values, musical score, songs, and faithfulness to the original film with a few elements of the Broadway musical version, while the designs of the Beast and the servants’ household object forms received mixed reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film had an approval rating of 71% based on 328 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The website’s critical consensus read, “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.
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 commending the inclusion of Gad’s character of LeFou as the first LGBT character in Disney. 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.” Gleiberman compared Steven’s character of the Beast to a royal version of the titular character in The Elephant Man and the 1946 version of the Beast in Jean Cocteau’s original adaptation. 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.”
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”. 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 performances 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”. 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.” In her A- review, Nancy Churnin of The Dallas Morning News praised the film’s emotional and thematic depth, remarking: “There’s an emotional authenticity in director Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast film that helps you rediscover Disney’s beloved 1991 animated film and 1994 stage show in fresh, stirring ways.” James Berardinelli of ReelViews described the 2017 version as “enthralling”.
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 a potential for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. 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)”. 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.” 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.
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. 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. Stephen Whitty of the New York Daily News called it “this year’s best new old musical” and “the most magical thing of all” while describing Watson’s performance of Belle as “breakthrough”.
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”. 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 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”. 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.
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-, writing that the new songs were “perfectly fine” but remarked it as “not transporting”. He felt the film needed more life and depth, but praised Watson’s performance as the “one of the film’s stronger elements”. Dana Schwartz of The New York 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.
Controversy erupted after director Bill Condon said there was a “gay moment” in the film, when LeFou briefly waltzes with Stanley, one of Gaston’s friends. Afterwards 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.” 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.”
In Russia, Vitaly Milonov agitated the culture minister for banning the film, 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). Additionally, a theater in Henagar, Alabama did 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. 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”. 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.
The film also received criticism over its portrayal of LeFou, as many felt that it relied on stereotypes and was used as a way of teasing LGBT+ viewers without providing adequate representation. LeFou’s status as a sidekick to the main villain brought about criticism over Disney’s queercoding of villains in the past, and his infatuation with Gaston was seen as relying on a stereotype of gay men being predatory towards straight men. Furthermore, the only gay interaction LeFou has is a three-second clip of him dancing with another man at the end of the film. Many saw this as Disney cheating its LGBT+ audiences.
Belle and the Beast’s relationship
Disney has sought to portray Belle as an empowered young woman, but a debate questioning whether it is possible for a captor to fall in love with their prisoner, and whether this is a problematic theme, has resulted. 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.[not in citation given] 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.
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. 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. Constance Grady of Vox writes that Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast was a fairy tale originally written to prepare young girls in 18th-century France for arranged marriages, and that the power disparity is amplified in the Disney version. 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.
- Official website
- Beauty and the Beast on IMDb
- Beauty and the Beast at Rotten Tomatoes
- Beauty and the Beast at Box Office Mojo
- Beauty and the Beast at AllMovie
- The Scarlet Flower (1858)
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