It’s a tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme...stop me if you’ve heard this before.
It’s no secret that Disney’s live-action remake of the 1991 classic “Beauty and the Beast” will undoubtedly make major bank at the box office. But I think the highly-anticipated blockbuster is poised to shatter box office records — and here’s why.
From a technical standpoint, the release of this movie comes sandwiched between two other major spring releases, “Kong: Skull Island” and “Power Rangers,” two reboots of already beloved franchises, bringing in a key nostalgia factor for adult moviegoers (especially in the case of “Power Rangers,” thanks to ‘90s kids who grew up on the original teenage superheroes). Both are big-budget, flashy, larger-than-life film experiences —just like BATB will be.
But it’s this same nostalgia factor that will make BATB a hit, despite a release directly in the middle of those other blockbuster films. The original came out 26 years ago, and Disney knows exactly the sweet spot to hit viewers who are old enough to remember seeing the original on the big screen and kids young enough to remember watching it on VHS tape. They’ll take their kids and grandkids, and that’s exactly the point.
There’s also a hype behind seeing an animated film from 1991 remade to a live-action film using 2017 technology. That master staircase and royal banquet hall will come alive in a way the cartoon simply couldn’t, and the movie’s technological upgrades will only enhance the viewing experience.
Disney knows people want to see modern, live-action versions of their favorite childhood classics. That’s why they’re simultaneously working on reboots to “Mary Poppins” and “The Lion King.” People enjoy watching things they know they love already. It’s why you’ll stop and watch “Friends” reruns every single night. It’s comfort food for the soul.
With “Beauty and the Beast,” we know the characters, we know the story. Yes, Disney has smartly adapted the tale as old as time to hit 2017 audiences right where they need it most (Belle’s a feminist! Disney’s first interracial kiss! LeFou is Disney’s first openly gay character!), hopefully paving the way for more inclusivity in future big-budget films. But the overall story remains the same. We know exactly what we’re getting here.
“Beauty and the Beast” will transport audiences into an enchanted, gilded, fantasy land, and that’s exactly why it will be an incredible success. The political climate right now is unnerving. There’s no shortage of unrest and turmoil, and people have always turned to movies, and the arts in general, for a brief respite from the world’s problems. The timing is impeccable. Couldn’t we all benefit from a couple hours of singing candlesticks and dancing teacups? Be our guest.
Photo credit: Disney