There might be a backlash surrounding Beauty and the Beast‘s “gay content,” but the film’s lead princess Emma Watson refuses to let others rain on her parade because she fulfilled her childhood dream to play the role. After all, she remarked that she watched the animated classic until her parents “couldn’t take it anymore.”
She was initially asked to star in La La Land which earned Emma Stone an Oscar. Despite previous rumors that the producers dropped the British actress from the project because of her demands, the Harry Potter star told ABC that it was simply because her heart was set on playing Belle.
“It was kind of a decision like I knew I really needed to really fully commit to make this movie what it needed to be. I love this story, and I’d been committed to it for a very long time, and I knew I had to do right by it.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s sources claim that Emma was paid $3 million upfront for the role. It is believed that her final paycheck might soar to $15 million if the film’s performance is similar to how Maleficent fared in 2014. The tale of the misunderstood mistress earned $759 million worldwide gross.
Beauty and the Beast opened with an estimated $170 million in ticket sales in North America. The film, which was created with a budget of $160 million, surpassed Finding Dory’s ticket sales opening record of $135 million.
Disney’s head of distribution Dave Hollis told NY Post that the pairing of nostalgia and the creative team’s efforts paved way for the warm response to the film.
“Nostalgia is a very powerful driver for these films. What’s exciting here is there is an opportunity to see these beloved stories in a way that’s never been seen before, but you get to build that on the foundation of something that’s very familiar. But you don’t get to $170 million because of nostalgia. You have to ultimately make these movies great.”
However, Disney’s latest live remake won’t screen in Malaysia after the movie censorship board announced that they would only give the green light if there’d be “a minor cut involving a gay moment.”
The organization has proposed cuts totaling four minutes and 38 seconds. As per the board, there were reportedly three questionable parts in the film: LeFou hugging Gaston, a sexually suggestive song, and the scene at the end of the film in which LeFou dances with a fellow male.
Disney did not give in to the country’s demands. The studio is firm that the film “has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia.”
In the country, sexual relations between men are punishable. Films and television programs are not allowed to have gay characters unless these characters are painted in a bad light. Another exception is if the gay character shows remorse and determination to right his “wrong.”
Prior to Malaysia’s request for censorship, a drive-in theater in Alabama also opted not to show the film because of its subtle homosexual content.
Nonetheless, senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian shared to NY Post that Beauty and the Beast will remain unfazed and that the backlash might even help it.
“As quote-unquote controversies go, this was a real tempest in a teapot. This obviously had zero impact on the movie. In fact, those who raise awareness of a movie for whatever reason are generally only helping that movie do better business. I don’t think that was going to dissuade anyone except the most narrow-minded from seeing this film.”
Apart from the younger generation, people who witnessed Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s original works in 1991 were similarly lured to watch the film’s retelling.
[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]