More than 90 million trailer views in just 24 hours?! Imagine how big this film will be once released!
Disney is no stranger to big box office pay days, but even it was shocked at the overnight success of the first teaser trailer for live action Beauty and the Beast. Released yesterday via Disney and the cast's social media pages, the teaser gave audiences their first look at Emma Watson as Belle, one of the most beloved Disney princesses of all time. The teaser spread like wildfire, providing another movie for Disney audiences — who grew up during the studio's best era — to remain loyal fans.
In just 24 hours, Beauty and the Beast's teaser smashed Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens' record for most viewed teaser of all time, reaching a viewership of 91.8 million! The Force Awakens clocked in at 88 million views, while Captain America: Civil War sits in third place with 66 million views. Now, if Beauty and the Beast can beat The Force Awakens in audience anticipation, imagine the box office numbers it will smash! Star Wars hit more than 2 billion worldwide, and I am putting my bets in now — Beauty and the Beast will, too. This is interesting, because Disney also released Star Wars, so really, it will just be breaking its own records (and they've got more to come)!
So, am I saying that Beauty and the Beast will even best Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Disney's biggest film EVER?! YES, I AM, and here's why!
If there was a dictionary definition for nailing casting, it would be Emma Watson as Belle. The Harry Potter actress is a real-life Belle; she not only looks the part, but lives it. She's good-hearted, smart and educated, a proud feminist, and talented to boot. Bringing one of the most beloved Disney princesses to life would be a daunting task to anyone but her, because she is fearless.
For me, being young when the animated Beauty and the Beast was released, I idolized Belle, so I have high expectations for this film and for Emma. On that note, it's not just Emma who will make this film great, but the entire cast. I think we are in for more that just a live action fairytale.
Nostalgia Will Pay Off
Here's the thing: Watching the teaser, I was immediately transported to my awe-filled 5-year-old self watching Beauty and the Beast in the theater. Good memories and precious childhood moments came flooding back, and clearly it did the same for 90 million other people. The animated Disney film was a huge hit in its time, nominated for Oscars, and selling out toys left and right. It struck a chord not only with children, but their parents as well.
Beauty and the Beast truly is timeless, but that doesn't mean Disney didn't need to be smart about the timing of the release. The children that grew up with it now have children of their own. Three full generations have grown up with this film and love it as much as they did yesterday — male and female alike. The oldest of those three generations will be at the theater on opening day to watch it with their children, who are now adults and have children of their own. These children will get to see experience the magic for the first time.
This is huge, and it will be what pushes Beauty and the Beast beyond any Disney film before it. It transcends the boxes Hollywood likes to place audiences in, because the equity it holds in the hearts of people of all ages around the world is far more valuable than targeting one specific subgroup of audience. Proof of this is the massive success of The Force Awakens. Released nearly 40 years after the original, generation upon generation has held the Star Wars films near and dear to their hearts, and even just the music will send shivers down your collective spines. There was nothing that could stop people — young and old — from going to experience hearing that music in a theater again, or for the first time.
Speaking of the music, do not tell me you did not feel suddenly giddy the minute you heard that piano medley in the Beauty and the Beast teaser. In a brilliant move, Disney brought back Alan Menken, the original composer of the Oscar-nominated score from the 1991 animated version, to compose the live action score. All of the original music and songs will be in the film — and even a few new ones!
This is Disney staying true to what the longterm fans love so much about Beauty and the Beast. This is Disney sticking to its source material and honoring what made it so magical. It's a pretty huge deal, considering all the remakes and reboots coming out nowadays, where the studios completely abandon what made these films/shows so great in the first place and replace it with so-called creative liberty.
I think what I am most excited about is who Disney taps to rerecord the radio version of "Beauty and the Beast," originally sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson.
Disney has already proved it can do justice to animated films in live action format, thanks to Cinderella and The Jungle Book both having found plenty of box office success. But Beauty and the Beast will blow them away, mark my words. People around the globe are ready to be brought back into the magic of Disney's classic animated films, with Beauty and the Beast at the top of their list. The only other animated film that could compete would be The Little Mermaid, but we may be waiting a while for that. A live action version is on the way, but it's not being helmed by Disney and the casting of Chloë Grace Moretz as Ariel has been nothing short of contentious.
With less than a year to go, there is plenty of time to prepare for all the feels you'll have when watching Beauty and the Beast in theaters, and Disney has plenty of time to prepare for its biggest hit ever. I guarantee that we will be seeing it at the Oscars just as its beloved and timeless predecessor was. OK, but seriously, we have to wait until 2017?! We shall endure together, people!