‘Beauty and the Beast’ Smashes Records With Towering $170 Million Debut

This is what makes Disney such a powerhouse.

“Beauty and the Beast,” the studio’s latest live-action update of a cartoon classic, waltzed its way to a towering $170 million debut this weekend, setting a new record for a March opening and solidifying the Mouse House’s status as the dominant player in the film business. No other company can match the streak that Disney is currently enjoying, thanks to a series of multi-billion acquisitions that put the likes of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm in its Magic Kingdom. Last year, the studio accounted for more than a quarter of all domestic ticket sales, and 2017 brings the release of sequels to “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Cars,” and “Thor,” in addition to “Beauty and the Beast.”

“I don’t know if they made a deal with the devil, but Disney is an awfully potent empire right now,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “You continue to shake your head and roll your eyes, but they can do no wrong right now and that has all the other studios salivating.”

“Beauty and the Beast” represents another part of Disney’s branded strategy. It’s the latest fairy tale adaptation to hit screens. Others in the lucrative group include “Alice in Wonderland,” which picked up $1 billion worldwide; “Cinderella” with its $543.5 million global haul; and last year’s “The Jungle Book,” which racked up a mighty $966.6 million after finishing its run. Remakes of “Dumbo” and “Mulan” are already in the works, as Disney commits to putting a live-action spin on the bulk of its animated properties (Fans of “Treasure Planet” may be out of luck).

The latest fairy tale follows Belle, a bookish girl in France played by Harry Potter film veteran Emma Watson, who helps a tortured Beast (Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” fame) break out of his shell. In the process, she lifts a curse that’s left the Beast’s kingdom populated by talking household items. “Beauty and the Beast” didn’t muck about with the elements that made the 1991 film so beloved. Director Bill Condon kept the basic plot intact, while fleshing out a bit more of Belle’s backstory, and retaining a soundtrack that includes “Be Our Guest” and “Belle.” All those elaborate musical numbers and chatty cutlery don’t come cheap. “Beauty and the Beast” carries a hefty $160 million budget. It should make that money back manyfold after ticket sales are tallied and new lines of princess wear are whipped up to satisfy new generations of Belle lovers.

“Beauty and the Beast’s” appeal cut across the generations, while its feminist heroine, a brainy, headstrong villager who refuses to conform, resonated with younger women. Sixty percent of ticket buyers were female, while families accounted for half of the opening weekend audience. Children under 12 made up 22% of the crowd, while people between the ages of 26 and 34, the same demographic reared on the animated film, comprised 21% of the audience.

“The elements came together to make this into a can’t miss event,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “There was massive nostalgia for the original film. Parents loved the movie and they wanted to show this one to their kids and share that experience.”

Most major studios steered clear of “Beauty and the Beast.” The only other new release of note, “The Belko Experiment,” debuted to $4.1 million, which its backers say is success given its model. The film boasts a unique distribution strategy. “The Belko Experiment” opened in 1,341 locations, roughly a third of the theater count for a major studio offerings. The theaters are chosen because they are more popular with horror fans. Orion, an MGM label, backed the film and is distributing it with BH Tilt. That label is overseen by “The Purge” and “Insidious” producer Blumhouse. It’s trying to find more cost-efficient ways to bring smaller films to the masses. “The Belko Experiment” follows a group of American corporate types, who are locked in a high-rise office in Bogotá, Colombia. They are ordered by a voice on the intercom to kill one another in a gray flannel-version of Social Darwinism.

With “Beauty and the Beast” dominating ticket sales, last weekend’s champ, “Kong: Skull Island,” fell 53% to $28.8 million. That pushes the monster movie’s domestic haul to $110.1 million. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment teamed up to produce the remake of King Kong.

Fox’s “Logan” took third place, pulling in $17.5 million and bringing the R-rated superhero tale’s stateside total to $184 million. Universal and Blumhouse’s “Get Out,” a thriller about a black man whose girlfriend’s white family holds a sinister secret, nabbed fourth position. It made $13.2 million, bringing its gross to $133.1 million. With a budget of $4.5 million, the film is one of the year’s most profitable. Lionsgate’s “The Shack” rounded out the top five generating $6.1 million and pushing the faith-based drama’s earnings to over $42.6 million.

In limited release, “T2 Trainspotting,” a sequel to the 1996 cult comedy about a group of heroin addicts, opened in five locations, earning $180,000. Ewan McGregor reprises his role as a drug-addict Scot. The actor also has a supporting turn playing Lumiere, a candlestick, in “Beauty and the Beast.” Sony is releasing “T2,” which is heavily geared towards European audiences. The drama has already made $34 million overseas.

From Variety

Disneyland to Get Limited-Time Beauty and the Beast Experiences

Disneyland guests will soon be able to step into the beloved “Beauty and the Beast” story in new ways! For a limited time, Fantasyland at Disneyland park will bring this tale to life with special experiences that celebrate the classic Disney animated feature.

Red Rose Taverne – This dining location at the northwest edge of Fantasyland will magically transform from Village Haus Restaurant into a lively French taverne, with delicious quick-service meals perfect for all ages! Adorned with beautiful murals depicting favorite scenes from Disney’s animated feature, “Beauty and the Beast,” and draped with inviting curtains, each room of Red Rose Taverne tells a different chapter of the tale as old as time. The menu will transform as well, featuring some of your favorite tastes with a French taverne-inspired twist, as well as new signature beverages. We’ll have details to share on these delicious additions soon – and yes, you will be able to try our own version of the Grey Stuff. (I hear it’s delicious!)

Royal Reception – This special merchandise location adjacent to Red Rose Taverne offers keepsakes, apparel and collectibles inspired by both the animated Disney feature as well as the new, live-action film, “Beauty and the Beast,” in theaters March 17.

That Gaston – We all know Gaston loves a taverne, so don’t be surprised if you find him preening around Fantasyland. Stop him and ask him to flex his biceps – he loves that.

Maurice’s Treats – The celebration continues in nearby Fantasy Faire, where each twist on the menu at Maurice’s Treats will be presented with … well … a twist! And those of you who have been clamoring for a dipping sauce to go along with your tasty twist will be pleased to know that marinara, strawberry and even Grey Stuff dipping sauces will soon be available.

The Royal Theatre Presents “Beauty and the Beast” – Be sure to drop by the Royal Theatre in Fantasy Faire as Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones present their take on “Beauty and the Beast” in this daily favorite.

Opening dates and how long these experiences will last have not been mentioned yet by Disneyland.

“Beauty and the Beast” to Become a Brand-New Stage Spectacular Aboard Disney Cruise Line

A tale as old as time gets ready to take the stage with “Beauty and the Beast,” a brand-new musical production inspired by Disney’s live-action adaptation of the animated classic. The show will expand upon the most imaginative elements of the highly anticipated live-action and classic films and delight Disney Cruise Line guests aboard the Disney Dream, beginning this November.

Audiences will once again fall in love with the enchanting fairytale as they embark on a sweeping journey to discover the power of transformation through true love and courage. This new production of “Beauty and the Beast” celebrates the romance, adventure and magic of the live-action film, weaving in the charm and nostalgia of the award-winning animated feature.

“Beauty and the Beast” will bring the timeless fable to life like never before, featuring a style of theater that interlaces classic storytelling elements with cutting-edge technology, to create a unique, theatrical experience in the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. An innovative take on the story will transform renowned songs into spectacular, show-stopping numbers, and lavish costumes and puppetry will bring a fresh perspective to beloved characters.

Re-imagining a tale as old as time

Drawing inspiration from the live-action film, the stage musical uses the scenic motif of a music box to guide spectators through the story. Set designer, Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon,” “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”), worked in concert with video designer, Aaron Rhyne (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “Anastasia”), to create a transforming set that will take audiences on a magical journey through the music box, from Belle’s provincial French town to the Beast’s mysterious castle.

To bring “Beauty and the Beast” to the stage, Disney assembled an all-star creative team, led by director and choreographer Connor Gallagher (“Tangled: The Musical,” “Found”). Gallagher collaborated with writer Sara Wordsworth (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “In Transit”) and a talented collection of Broadway artists to create an imaginative, new approach to this iconic story.

Through a combination of high-definition projections, dynamic scenery and a little bit of Disney magic, this new interpretation of “Beauty and the Beast” will create a visual panorama that reaches beyond the stage and into the audience. Complementing the immersive set, lighting design by four-time Tony Award-nominated, Japhy Weideman, punctuates the powerful emotions of the classic tale.

Orchestrating a song as old as rhyme

“Beauty and the Beast” features songs from the original animated film’s award-winning soundtrack by acclaimed composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. Complementing the score, the show also includes two of the new songs created for the live-action film by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.” Enchanting arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Castle and Frank Galgano (“Into the Woods”) will bring a unique musical identity to the production.

Beloved songs like “Belle,” “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast” will receive a musical makeover that reflect the show’s stylized approach, while songs like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” will leap to the stage as joyful and exuberant production numbers.

One of the most iconic songs in the Disney canon has been completely re-imagined for the stage. “Be Our Guest” is becoming a multi-course French dinner rooted in imagination and fantasy. Rousing choreography and dazzling visual effects will fill the stage during this full-fledged spectacle.

Unveiling the magic of the enchanted objects

Blurring the line between costuming and puppetry, costume designer Sarah Cubbage (Broadway’s “Skylight”) and puppet designer Lake Simons (“Etiquette Unraveled”) joined forces to give life to the enchanted objects of “Beauty and the Beast.” Beloved characters like Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth are realized in an unprecedented way, using innovative puppetry and elaborate costumes to bring these characters to life in their true scale.

“Beauty and the Beast” will debut during the Disney Dream voyage departing Nov. 6, 2017, joining an incredible lineup of Broadway-style stage productions aboard the ship, including “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney’s Believe.” The Disney Dream sails three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Fla.

The Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures live-action film “Beauty and the Beast” premieres in theaters March 17, on land and at sea aboard Disney Cruise Line ships.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Newest Issue of Disney twenty-three Goes Behind the Scenes on Beauty and the Beast

While we wait for Beauty and the Beast to enchant us once again when the live-action musical debuts in theaters March 17, D23 Gold Members can pore over the pages of the newest issue of Disney twenty-three, where stars Emma Watson (Belle), Josh Gad (LeFou), and director Bill Condon share secrets from the set of the highly anticipated film. From unique challenges to unforgettable moments, the cast and crew share just how much magic (and hard work!) it takes to transform one of the most beloved animated films of all time into a stunning live-action feature.

Plus, Disney Legend Kurt Russell and fan-favorite Chris Pratt give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde takes us inside a breakout… Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! to be exact, a brand-new attraction coming to Disney California Adventure summer 2017.

Tangled fans will have the best day ever when they receive the newest issue of Disney twenty-three––Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi talk about Tangled: The Series and all the fun they had stepping back into the studio to voice adored characters Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (now known as Eugene Fitzherbert, of course). From upcoming shows to beloved classics, this issue of Disney twenty-three reunites the Mouseketeers from The New Mickey Mouse Club, who come together 40 years later to look back on the ‘70s-era show.

If ye be seeking adventure, look no further—the spring issue of Disney twenty-three is celebrating all things pirates with a look at five decades of the iconic attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a sneak peek with producer Jerry Bruckheimer at Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, coming to theatres this May.

Also included in the spring issue of Disney twenty-three:

  • A celebration of the Main Street Electrical Parade’s 45th anniversary, as it returns to its original home at Disneyland Park
  • The wonder and beauty of Disneynature’s newest film, Born in China
  • A peek at what’s to come during the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris
  • Eleven cool experiences you may not have known about at Walt Disney World Resort
  • A look inside the newly renovated Walt Disney Animation Studios headquarters
  • Regular features including A Walk with Walt, D Society, and Ask Dave

New year, new member gift! Disney twenty-three readers will explore the 2017 D23 Gold Member Gift, “Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men,” a collection of 23 meticulously reproduced items that represent the work and legacy of the nine animators who created some of Disney’s most enduring characters.

Tokyo Disneyland Adding Beauty and the Beast Land, Big Hero 6 Attraction

Tokyo Disneyland’s newly announced attractions might bring new people in to be their guests.

The Oriental Land Company, which owns the whole Tokyo Disney Resort, announced expansions for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Parks that would be completed by the end of 2020.

The big highlight is a revamped Fantasyland centered around a new area with a heavy Beauty and the Beast theme.

TDL - Beauty:Beast

Expected to arrive in Spring 2020, visitors will be able to experience the Beast’s legendary castle and Belle’s bucolic village. The main ride in the castle puts riders on “enchanted serving dishes that dance in rhythm to the film’s well-known music and follow Belle on a romantic musical adventure inside the enchanted Castle where she dances her way into the heart of the Beast, just in time to break the fateful spell,” according to a press release.

TDL - Big Hero

Big Hero 6 lovers also received good news. Baymax will accompany riders on a 90-second whip ride set to music. Like Beauty and the Beast, it’s estimated to open in Spring 2020.

From Entertainment Weekly

Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Set for March 17, 2017

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From Variety

Disney has set a March 17, 2017, release date for its live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

The film stars “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson as Belle, “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens as the Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston. Josh Gad has also been cast as LeFou.

“Beauty and the Beast” is the first film set for the date. Lionsgate will open “The Allegiant Series, Part 2″ a week later.

Bill Condon is directing, with David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films producing. The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky.

Alan Menken, who won two Oscars for the 1991 animated version of “Beauty and the Beast,” will score the new film which will include new recordings of the original songs in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.

Production will begin later this year.

Emma Watson Cast as Belle in Disney’s Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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From Variety

Emma Watson will star in Disney’s live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” as the lead character Belle.

Disney made the announcement Monday, saying that production will begin later this year. No release date has been set.

The film will be directed by Bill Condon (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”), who was announced as director in June. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films are producing.

The “Harry Potter” actress also made the announcement on her Facebook page:

“I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Steve Chbosky. Linda Wolverton wrote the script for the animated “Beauty and the Beast,” which has grossed more than $145 million domestically since its release in 1991.

 

Big Hero 6 Meet and Greet Opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Big Hero 6

The Big Hero 6 character meet and greet has now opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Inside the park’s ‘The Magic of Disney Animation,’ you can find Hiro Hamada and Baymax in Hiro’s garage workshop.

The new meet and greet replaces the Wreck It Ralph meet and greet, although both Vanellope and Ralph continue to appear in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at the Magic Kingdom.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Begins New standby Policy for Lunch

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Demand for the Be Our Guest Restaurant shows no sign of wavering, and Disney has implemented a new standby line policy during lunch.

Guests without a FastPass+ reservation for lunch will now be given a timed ticket, similar to the old FASTPASS system, and asked to return to the restaurant at that time. Once all the return times have been given out, a sign is posted that no more standby guests will be admitted.

The FastPass+ reservations for lunch at Be Our Guest are only available to Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests, so this new policy means that non-resort guests must arrive early to obtain a ticket, or dine elsewhere.

Dinner will continue to be table service with reservations, and is not affected by the new policy. No word on if the change will be permanent – Be Our Guest has implemented a number of systems since opening, so is subject to change at any time.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Embark on International Tour

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In celebration of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast‘s 20th anniversary on stage, Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group will present the first international tour of the title, which will open at Istanbul’s Zorlu Center in October 2014.

The English-language tour — which will play diverse international markets including Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, marking the first time the musical will have been seen in these territories—will reunite the musical’s original Broadway creative team.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with NETWorks and Broadway Entertainment Group, to launch this first-ever international tour,” said Ron Kollen, senior vice president, international, for Disney Theatrical Productions, in a statement. “To premiere Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in these cities throughout the Middle East and Asia, is a perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our beloved stage musical.”

Beauty and the Beast is directed by Rob Roth and choreographed by Matt West, with Tony Award-winning costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Natasha Katz, scenic design by Stanley A. Meyer, sound design by John Petrafesa Jr. and music supervision by Michael Kosarin.

Auditions are currently underway in the U.S., and casting will be announced in the coming months.

Liz Koops, producer for Broadway Entertainment Group, added, “The world of touring entertainment is constantly evolving and we wanted to begin an international circuit to bring top quality entertainment into emerging markets. What better way to start than with one of the world’s most beloved and successful musicals, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”

Based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated feature film of the same name, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast premiered on Broadway in 1994, where it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and ran for 13 years.

Since its debut, the title’s visibility and success has expanded globally with subsequent productions produced around the world. Since licensing of the title began in 2004, there have been productions in 22 countries, seen by more than 35 million people, translated into 8 different languages with over 28,000 performances — equivalent to a run of 67 years, generating over $1.7 billion in revenue.

In the U.S., Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has been licensed to over 6,000 individual theatres including professional, community and school productions. It was the first Disney Theatrical Productions title in countries across Scandinavia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia, among others.

Currently, there are four productions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beastplaying around the world, including Paris and tours in North America, Japan and Germany.

Beauty and the Beast, according to Disney, “is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.”

The musical boasts music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton.