Disney’s live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” is shaping up to be one of the studio’s 2017 hits. But will the feature, which stars Emma Watson as lead Belle, go down as a tale as old as time for the studio?
During Disney’s CinemaCon slate presentation in Las Vegas on April 13, Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios executive vice president of theatrical distribution, teased the film. While Hollis did not release a trailer or stills, he did call the feature “breathtaking” and “extraordinary.”
“The reactions that we’ve seen from the test screenings is nothing short of extraordinary,” he said.
The new “Beauty and the Beast” will reportedly follow in the footsteps of Disney’s 1991 animated classic. In the original film Belle falls in love with her captor, a rich prince who has been cursed to live out his life as a beast unless he finds true love. Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”) will play the Beast to Watson’s Belle. Luke Evans (“Furious 7“) will take on the role of the villainous Gaston and Josh Gad of “Frozen” fame will portray his right-hand man, Le Fou. Other notable cast members include Stanely Tucci as newcomer Cadenza, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere.
If “Beauty and the Beast” manages to be a box office success, it won’t be the studio’s first for a live-action remake. Last year’s “Cinderella,” which starred Lily James as the lead princess, took in over $542 million worldwide for Disney. “Alice and Wonderland” also fared well for the studio. The film grossed just over $1 billion worldwide in 2010. The studio’s follow-up, “Alice Through The Looking Glass,” premieres in theaters next month.
“Beauty and the Beast” is directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”). The film is scheduled to premiere March 17, 2017.