The title of highest-grossing film of 2017 is held, as of now, by Beauty and the Beast, the American musical romantic fantasy film that premiered in London on February 23 of this year. As can be inferred based on its title, the film is a live-action/CGI-animated remake of the Disney 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon and starring such actors as Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans, the film has grossed $981 million around the world and is the 29th highest-grossing film of all time. With a production budget of $160 million and four months of principal photography, Beauty and the Beast brings one of the most popular fairytales to life.
Walt Disney Pictures, one of the co-producers of the film, had begun to develop a film adaptation of the 1994 Beauty and the Beast musical. This idea, however, was abandoned, and in 2014, Disney began developing a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Disney approached Condon, the film’s director, and requested that this new film be remade in a more radical way. Condon explained that “after Frozen opened, the studio saw that there was this big international audience for an old-school musical approach”. Condon then formed his idea of making the film a live-action musical movie. Sean Bailey, Disney’s president of production, credits Alan F. Horn, the Disney chairman, with the decision to make this film a musical. He says that “We realized there was a competitive advantage in the songs. What is wrong with making adults feel like kids again?” Clearly, this musical film was a huge success, and the musical element is undeniably an important part of that.
Rotten Tomatoes rates Beauty and the Beast at 71% and gives it an audience score of 85%. Its critic consensus on the film states the following: “With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material.” Personally, I am in complete agreement with this review, and I enjoyed seeing one of the most beloved tales from my childhood brought to life with actors. I thought that the effects were remarkable, and the songs fit seamlessly into the film’s storyline. I applaud Evan Spiliotopoulous and Stephen Chbosky for their screenplay.
I think that above all, what has made this film so popular is its appeal to all age groups. While definitely appropriate for children and wonderful for families to enjoy, I think many see it as a chance to reminisce about their childhoods and, as Bailey says, make “adults feel like kids again.” In this way and along with its powerful message about society’s standards of beauty, the magic of the film undoubtedly breaks the fourth wall, and for that, I believe this film will definitely be remembered.