It’s officially March everyone! This means two things: The worst two months of the year are now behind us, and Beauty and the Beast is coming out in just a couple of weeks. I can’t think of any movie in recent memory that I have had more anticipation for then Beauty and the Beast. The 1991 original version of this film is one of my favorites Disney movies and Belle is definitely my favorite Disney Princess, so I am expecting to really enjoy this film when it comes out on the 17th. I’m sure by now you have seen trailers or advertising for this movie, but do you really know what to expect from it?
Unless you live under a rock, you know that Emma Watson has been cast to play the role of Belle, and I personally think that she is a fantastic choice. She is beautiful, a good singer, has a great accent for the role, and is also really beautiful (Did I say that already?). But you already know Emma Watson is great. What you might not know is how impressive the rest of the cast list is. Dan Stevens is going to be the Prince/Beast. You may recognize him from his role in the popular TV show Downton Abbey. He also plays Lancelot in the third Night at the Museum movie, so when you add that with the fact that you have a Jedi playing Lumiere and a White Wizard playing Cogsworth, you have yourself a dangerous palace guard. For those of you that saw that reference go right over your head, Ewan MacGregor (also played Obi-Wan Kenobi) will be Lumiere and Ian McKellan (also played Gandolf) will be Cogswoth. Josh Gad and Kevin Cline both seem to fit the bill of the characters that they are playing, those being Le Fou and Maurice. The only character casting that I am really skeptical of is Luke Evans as Gaston. My first impression of him were that he isn’t physically imposing enough to play this role. After seeing the more recent trailers I think I would say that I am more interested, rather than pessimistic, to see how he addresses the role. He has the look (aside from the muscles), and he has the attitude. I am eager to see if it really feels right when I watch it.
Expect the movie to follow pretty much the exact same storyline as its 1991 predecessor. I understand that Maleficient and The Jungle Book, two of Disney’s most recent live-action remakes, both had twists at the end that were significantly different than their original counterparts. However, director Bill Condon has stated that he wants to “straight-forward, live-action remake” and I really expect this film to stay very true to its roots throughout. Even the trailers have been virtually identical remakes of the trailers that were released before the original film was released 26 years ago. Expect a remake more similar to Cinderella, which was released in 2015, than the the other two movies mentioned earlier in the section.
Also, expect to see the first openly gay character in a Disney movie. To the excitement of some and the chagrin of others worldwide, it has recently been released that Le Fou will have affection for Gaston that is clearly more than just brotherly love. Personally, I don’t think that it will affect the movie very much because it really isn’t difficult to imagine the Le Fou from the 1991 version being gay anyway. He didn’t do anything in that version that would explicitly make you think “That guy is probably homosexual”, but if Kirk Wise, the director of that movie, were to tell me that Le Fou is gay I would have no problem believing him. I am interested to see if this development is going to change the feel of the movie at all. I certainly hope it does not.
Another thing that people might not know to expect at this point is that this will most definitely fit into the genre of “musical”. The music of this movie will be compiled by Alan Menken, who has done music for many Disney movies in the past, in addition to the original Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Expect this film to include many, if not all, of the songs from the original film. In addition, Menken has confirmed that there will be 3 new songs, one of which will be performed by Celine Dion for the end credits and another by Josh Groban. Assuming La La Land is categorized with 2016 movies, Beauty and the Beast could be the best musical of 2017.
Box Office Prediction
With the amount of marketing done for this film I expect it to really do well in theaters. It has so many things going for it and the fact that its original predecessor is one of the more popular movies by Disney Animation all-time certainly doesn’t hurt. Disney’s The Jungle Book (2016) grossed $103M in opening weekend, I expect similar results from this film with a little extra on the top. My official prediction is $112M opening weekend for Beauty and the Beast.