As promised by the Mouse House, we just got a second and final theatrical trailer for Beauty and the Beast. The theatrical tease just aired during tonight’s season finale of The Bachelor, which is appropriate but not nearly as fitting as had Walt Disney dropped it with the opening weekend of Fifty Shades Darker next week. But tomayto, tomahto…
I can only speak from third-party knowledge as I am being Lyft-ed to a press screening of The Space Between Us as I write this, but apparently Josh Gad (LeFou) and Luke Evans (Gaston) will be guesting on tonight’s episode of said dating show. The idea of the actors who play the film’s two chauvinistic male/human villains guest-starring on The Bachelor which in turn debuts a new Beauty and the Beast trailer, well, Quinn would heartily approve while Rachel would hold her nose but get it done.
Back to the actual movie. The only question is whether Beauty and the Beast is going to be Maleficent-big or Alice in Wonderland-big. There is reason to presume, without undue pressure, that this live-action adaptation of the 1991 animated feature is going to be one of the biggest-grossing movies of 2017. Looking at the playing field, it’s really all about what movies released between Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi end up holding a candle to whatever Beauty and the Beast and Fate of the Furious gross in the pre-summer months.
As I’ve noted a few times here and there, The Jungle Book grossed $966 million worldwide last Spring and that was The Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast is the first of these live-action fairy tale adaptation offerings to be based upon a somewhat modern animated movie. And it’s not just any Waking Sleeping Beauty-era Disney toon, but the one that is considered (along with arguably The Lion King) as the best of the Disney renaissance era.
The generational overlap in terms of quadrants and demographics for this movie are frankly obscene. You’re going to get adults who grew up with the 1991 animated film, kids who somewhat recently discovered the animated film, teens and college kids who saw it/liked it over the course of their childhood and all the parents taking their kids just because it’s a big Disney movie in the middle of the Spring. And you’ll have adults who just want a sweeping romantic fantasy film, since we don’t get a ton of those anymore at the multiplexes anymore.
Like The Jungle Book, you have a cast full of adult actors/movie stars playing somewhat well-known supporting roles. Heck, unlike The Jungle Book, you can sell these cast members (Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, etc.) via their actual human likeliness since said characters become human at the end of the movie. And, as you’ll notice, the character posters and much of the art has advertised the Beast’s servants not in their cursed form but rather as regular-looking humans.
But the canny thing was getting Emma Watson to play Belle. While said would-be casting has been “in the works” for nearly six years back when Guillermo del Toro wanted to helm a live-action Beauty and the Beast, getting Watson onboard for the Disney version is a fine mix of two fandoms.
You’ve got the Harry Potter fanbase which might not flock to see The Bling Ring or Regression but would gladly see the former Hermione Granger in another star+character+brand offering. And you’ve (obviously) got those otherwise interested due to Disney fandom or due to love of the 1991 animated offering, who will surely flock to the theaters in March. Yes, there is some overlap, but putting Watson in the title role gives this film an advantage that, for example, The Jungle Book did not.
I’m doubly curious as to how those who swear that The Twilight Saga is the “worst thing ever” will react to what is an awfully similar story (young woman who doesn’t fit in finds herself whisked away from her old life by a brooding and dangerous would-be beau), from the same director as the last two Twilight movies no less, yet encased in a form that they have been told is wonderful or brought up to adore for 25 years. Again, I am amused by the fact that this trailer debuted during The Bachelor, but this is all a conversation for after the movie is seen by the masses. Come what may, Beauty and the Beast opens March 17, 2017. As always, we’ll see. For those who missed them last week, below are the 12 character posters for your viewing pleasure, all courtesy of Walt Disney.
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