Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast has managed to make more than $1 billion dollars at the worldwide box office, making it the highest grossing live-action movie musical to date.
The live-action version of Beauty and the Beast first aired earlier this year on March 17. It stars Emma Watson as the beautiful and book-loving Belle, Dan Stevens as the cursed prince-turned-beast, Luke Evans as the self-absorbed Gaston, Josh Gad as Gaston’s goofy sidekick LeFou, Ewan McGregor as Lumière the candelabra, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth the clock, Emma Thompson as matronly tea pot Mrs. Potts, and Nathan Mack as Chip the teacup. Beauty and the Beast was expertly cast and it is clear that everyone involved put their hearts into their work.
This new version of Beauty and the Beast remains loyal to its 1991 animated counterpart, while at the same time providing new elements that enhance the story and answer some questions that the original left behind. From the first few notes of the prologue, fans of Beauty and the Beast knew they were in for a good time. The remake contains all of the songs from the original Beauty and the Beast, and includes several new ones. Some observant fans even recognized music from the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, such as notes from the song “Home” that play as Belle looks around her bedroom in the Beast’s castle.
Beauty and the Beast fans instantly fell in love with the new songs, and several of these songs were covered by various YouTubers, such as Caleb Hyles, who sang a tear-inducing cover of the song “Evermore,” which is sung by the Beast in the film. Caleb Hyles’ first big hit was a cover of “Let it Go” from another Disney film, Frozen.
Beauty and the Beast is a well-loved story, and many are familiar with its plot. As with most fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast began as a very different story. It was written in the 1700s by a woman named Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve. In the original version, the prince’s father died when the prince was a child, and his mother had to give him to the care of an evil fairy while she defended her kingdom. Once the prince grew into an adult, the evil fairy tried to seduce him and transformed him into a beast when he refused. The Beauty in the story was not the daughter of a merchant, as she is known now, but the daughter of a fairy and a king. Several years later, the story was picked up and altered by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. From there, it became the Beauty and the Beast story that is closest to what is told today.
Beauty and the Beast is not the first live-action adaptation that Disney has done, and it certainly will not be the last. Disney fans have already enjoyed a live-action Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, and even Maleficent which tells the story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the villain, and brings a whole new layer to the story. Live-action versions of Mulan, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and many more are in the works for Disney. Stories such as these have been around for centuries and are only gaining momentum in modern times. Why do people love these stories so much? Is it because the idea of magic worlds where anything can happen give us an escape from the day-to-day of our own lives? Is it because these stories are filled with hope and love? Is it simply because the stories are told in a way that people find entertaining? Whatever the reason, fans of Disney movies, and of fairy tales in general, can rest easy in the knowledge that there is so much more to come.
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]