Beauty and the Beast (1991 film)
|Beauty and the Beast|
|Directed by||Gary Trousdale
|Produced by||Don Hahn|
|Screenplay by||Linda Woolverton|
|Story by||Roger Allers
|Based on||"Beauty and the Beast"
by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont
|Narrated by||David Ogden Stiers|
David Ogden Stiers
|Music by||Alan Menken|
|Editing by||John Carnochan|
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Running time||84 minutes (Original version)
91 minutes (Special Edition)
Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romance–fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast is the 30th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. Additionally, it is third in the Disney Renaissance period. Starring Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson, Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast (Benson), a prince who is magically transformed into a hideous monster as punishment for his selfishness, and Belle (O'Hara), a beautiful young woman who he imprisons in his castle. The film also features the voices of Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers and Angela Lansbury, who occupy supporting roles.
Walt Disney first attempted to adapt "Beauty and the Beast" into an animated feature film during the 1930s and 1950s, but was unsuccessful. Following the unprecedented success of The Little Mermaid (1989), Walt Disney Feature Animation decided to adapt the fairy tale, originally conceived by then-director Richard Purdum as a non-musical. Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg eventually discontinued the idea and ordered that the film be a musical similar to The Little Mermaid instead, resulting in Purdum's resignation. Beauty and the Beast was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton story first credited to Roger Allers. Lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken wrote the film's songs. Ashman, who additionally served as an executive producer on the film, died of AIDS eight months before the film's premiere. The film is dedicated to him.
Beauty and the Beast premiered at the New York Film Festival on September 29, 1991, followed by a theatrical release on November 22 to very positive reviews. The film was a major box office success, and has since garnered over $424 million worldwide. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for several awards, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Famously, Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film received five additional Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Score, Best Sound, and three separate nominations for Best Original Song. Ultimately, the film won Best Original Score, while Best Original Song was awarded to its title song. In 2002, Beauty and the Beast was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
In April 1994, Beauty and the Beast became Disney's first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical. The success of the film spawned two direct-to-video midquels: Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997) and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World (1998). This was followed by a spin-off television series, Sing Me a Story with Belle. An IMAX special edition version of the original film was released in 2002, with a new five-minute musical sequence, "Human Again", included. After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, the film returned to theaters in 3D under supervision of John Lasseter on January 13, 2012.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Release and re-releases
- 5 Reception
- 6 Merchandise and spin-offs
- 7 Musical adaptation
- 8 Video games
- 9 Awards and nominations
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
An enchantress, disguised as an old beggar, offers a young prince a rose in exchange for a night's shelter in his castle but the prince declines. As a result of the prince's actions, the enchantress transforms him into a monstrous beast, his servants into household items, and his castle into a dark fortress. She gives him a magic mirror that enables him to view faraway events, along with the rose, which will bloom until his 21st birthday. In order to break the curse, the prince must learn to love and be loved in return before the rose′s petals have fallen off, lest he remain a beast permanently.
Years later, a beautiful young woman named Belle lives in a nearby French village with her father Maurice, an inventor. A bookworm, Belle longs for a life beyond the dull village. Her beauty and non-conformity attracts attention in the town and she is pursued by several men, particularly the arrogant and muscle-bound Gaston, who is set on marrying her. Despite Gaston being sought after by single females and admired by the male population of the town, Belle is uninterested in him.
While traveling to a fair to present his wood-chopping machine, accompanied by his horse Phillipe, Maurice gets lost in the woods. Chased by a pack of wolves, Maurice stumbles upon the Beast's castle, where he meets the transformed servants Lumière, a candelabra; Cogsworth, a clock; Mrs. Potts, a teapot; and her son Chip, a teacup. But soon after that, the ferocious Beast imprisons Maurice. Belle is led back to the castle by Phillipe, and offers to take her father′s place; the Beast accepts her offer over Maurice's protests. While Gaston is sulking in the tavern after a failed proposal to Belle, Maurice arrives seeking help to rescue her from the Beast. No one takes him seriously, so he sets out alone.
That night, Belle refuses to dine with the Beast, enraging him; Lumière disobeys his order not to let her eat. While Cogsworth and Lumière give Belle a tour of the castle, she wanders into the forbidden West Wing. When she finds the enchanted rose, the Beast angrily chases her away. Belle attempts to flee the castle with Phillipe, but they are attacked by a pack of wolves. The Beast comes to her aid and fights off the wolves, but is injured in the process. Belle nurses his wounds, and he begins to develop feelings for her. She thanks him for saving her life and he impresses her by giving her the castle's vast library. As they spend more time together, they grow closer. Meanwhile, a spurned Gaston pays Monsieur d'Arque, the warden of the town's insane asylum, to have Maurice committed if Belle does not accept Gaston's marriage proposal.
Belle and the Beast share a romantic evening together. Belle informs the Beast she misses her father, and he lets her use the magic mirror to see him. When Belle sees him dying in the woods in an attempt to rescue her, the Beast lets her leave to rescue her father, giving her the mirror to remember him by. Belle finds her father and brings him home. Gaston arrives to put Maurice in the insane asylum, but Belle proves Maurice's sanity by showing them the Beast with the magic mirror. Realizing that Belle has feelings for the Beast, Gaston warns the townspeople that the Beast is a man-eating monster that must be killed, and leads them to the castle. Gaston confines Belle and Maurice to their basement, but Chip, who had hidden himself in Belle's baggage, releases them with the aid of Maurice's wood-chopping machine.
The Beast's servants defeat the townspeople while Gaston sneaks away to confront the Beast. The Beast is initially too depressed to fight back, but he regains his will when he sees Belle returning to the castle. After winning a heated battle on the castle's rooftops, the Beast spares Gaston's life and orders him to leave. He is about to reunite with Belle, but Gaston stabs him from behind, only to lose his balance and fall to his death. Before the Beast's death, Belle professes her love for him just as the rose's last petal falls, and the spell is broken. The Beast comes back to life and is restored to human form, as are his servants. Now married, Belle and the prince dance in the ballroom with her father and the servants happily watching on.
- Paige O'Hara as Belle – A beautiful, bibliophile young woman who seeks adventure, and offers her own freedom to the Beast in return for her father's. In their effort to enhance the character from the original story, the filmmakers felt that Belle should be "unaware" of her own beauty and made her "a little odd." Wise recalls casting O'Hara because of a "unique tone" she had, "a little bit of Judy Garland," after whose appearance Belle was modeled. James Baxter and Mark Henn served as the supervising animators for Belle.
- Robby Benson as the Beast – A handsome prince who is transformed into a hideous beast by a beautiful enchantress as punishment for his selfish ways. He has the head structure and horns of an American bison, the arms and body of a bear, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar and the legs and tail of a wolf. Chris Sanders, one of the film's storyboard artists, drafted the designs for the Beast and came up with designs based on birds, insects and fish before coming up with something close to the final design. Glen Keane, supervising animator for the Beast, refined the design by going to the zoo and studying the animals on which the Beast was based. Benson commented, "There's a rage and torment in this character I've never been asked to use before." The filmmakers commented that "everybody was big fee-fi-fo-fum and gravelly" while Benson's voice had the "big voice and the warm, accessible side" and that "you could hear the prince beneath the fur."
- Richard White as Gaston – A vain hunter who vies for Belle's hand in marriage and is determined not to let anyone else win her heart. Gaston is egotistical and the main antagonist. He commented that they had "big line-ups of good-looking men with deep voices" during the casting auditions, but that Richard White had a "big voice" that "rattled the room". Gaston's supervising animator, Andreas Deja, was pressed by Jeffrey Katzenberg to make Gaston handsome in contrast to the traditional appearance of a Disney villain, an assignment he found difficult at first. In the beginning, Gaston is more of a narcissist than a true villain, but later he leads all the villagers to kill the beast, enraged that Belle would love a Beast more than him.
- Jerry Orbach as Lumiere – The kind-hearted but rebellious maître d' of the Beast's castle, who has been transformed into a candelabra. He has a habit of disobeying his master's strict rules, sometimes causing tension between them, but the Beast often turns to him for advice. He is depicted as a bit of a ladies' man, as he is frequently seen with Babette the Featherduster and immediately takes to Belle. A running gag throughout the movie is Lumiere burning Cogsworth. Nik Ranieri served as the supervising animator for Lumiere.
- David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth – The castle majordomo and Lumiere's best friend, who has been transformed into a clock. While he is as good-natured as Lumiere, he is extremely loyal to the Beast so as to save himself and anyone else any trouble, often leading to friction between himself and Lumiere. Will Finn served as the supervising animator for Cogsworth. Stiers also voices the narrator.
- Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts – The head of the castle kitchens, turned into a teapot, who takes a motherly attitude toward Belle. The filmmakers went through several names for Mrs. Potts, such as "Mrs. Chamomile," before Ashman suggested the use of simple and concise names for the household objects. David Pruiksma served as the supervising animator for Mrs. Potts.
- Bradley Michael Pierce as Chip – A teacup and Mrs. Potts' son. Originally intended to have only one line, the filmmakers were impressed with Pierce's performance and expanded the character's role significantly, eschewing a mute Music Box character. Pruiksma also served as the supervising animator for Chip.
- Rex Everhart as Maurice – Belle's eccentric inventor father. The citizens call him crazy, but loyal Belle believes he will be famous one day. Ruben A. Aquino served as the supervising animator for Maurice.
- Jesse Corti as Lefou – Gaston's bumbling and often abused, but loyal and rather clever sidekick. Chris Wahl served as the supervising animator for Lefou.
- Hal Smith as Philippe – Belle's horse. Russ Edmonds served as the supervising animator for Philippe.
- Jo Anne Worley as the Wardrobe – The castle's authority over fashion, and a former opera singer, who has been turned into a wardrobe. The character of Wardrobe was introduced by visual development person Sue C. Nichols to the then entirely male cast of servants, and was originally a more integral character named "Madame Armoire." Wardrobe is known as "Madame de la Grande Bouche" (Madame Big Mouth) in the stage adaptation of the film, and is the only major enchanted object character we do not see the human form of in the film. Tony Anselmo served as the supervising animator for the Wardrobe.
- Kath Soucie as the Bimbettes – A trio of village maidens who constantly fawn over Gaston, known as the "Silly Girls" in the stage adaptation.
- Alvin Epstein as the Bookseller – The owner of a book shop in Belle's home town.
- Tony Jay as Monsieur D'Arque – The sadistic warden of the Asylum de Loons. Gaston bribes him to help in his plan to blackmail Belle.
- Alec Murphy as the Baker – The owner of a bakery in Belle's home town.
- Mary Kay Bergman as Babette – A maid and Lumiere's sweetheart, who has been turned into a feather duster. She is named "Babette" in the stage adaptation of the film, and "Fifi" in Belle's Magical World.
Walt Disney sought out other stories to turn into feature films after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Beauty and the Beast was among the stories he considered. Attempts to develop the Beauty and the Beast story into a film were made in the 1930s and 1950s, but were ultimately given up because it "proved to be a challenge" for the story team. Peter M. Nichols states Disney may later have been discouraged by Jean Cocteau having already done his version.
Decades later, during the production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in 1987, the Disney studio resurrected Beauty and the Beast as a project for the satellite animation studio it had set up in London, England to work on Roger Rabbit. Richard Williams, who had directed the animated portions of Roger Rabbit, was approached to direct, but declined in favor of continuing work on his long-gestating project The Thief and the Cobbler. In his place, Williams recommended his colleague, English animation director Richard Purdum, and work began under producer Don Hahn on a non-musical version of Beauty and the Beast set in Victorian France. At the behest of Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Beauty and the Beast became the first Disney animated film to use a screenwriter. This was an unusual production move for an animated film, which is traditionally developed on storyboards rather than in scripted form. Linda Woolverton wrote the original draft of the story before storyboarding began, and worked with the story team to retool and develop the film.
Script rewrite and musicalization
Upon seeing the initial storyboard reels in 1989, Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg ordered that the film be scrapped and started over from scratch. A few months after starting anew, Purdum resigned as director. The studio had approached Ron Clements and John Musker to direct the film but turned down the offer saying they were "tired" after just having finished directing Disney's recent success The Little Mermaid. Disney then hired first-time feature directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. Wise and Trousdale had previously directed the animated sections of Cranium Command, a short film for a Disney EPCOT theme park attraction. In addition, Katzenberg asked songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who had written the song score for The Little Mermaid to turn Beauty and the Beast into a Broadway-style musical film in the same vein as Mermaid. Ashman, who at the time had learned he was dying of complications from AIDS, had been working with Disney on a pet project of his, Aladdin, and only reluctantly agreed to join the struggling production team.
To accommodate Ashman's failing health, pre-production of Beauty and the Beast was moved from London to the Residence Inn in Fishkill, New York, close to Ashman's New York City home. Here, Ashman and Menken joined Wise, Trousdale, Hahn, and Woolverton in retooling the film's script. Since the original story had only two major characters, the filmmakers enhanced them, added new characters in the form of enchanted household items who "add warmth and comedy to a gloomy story" and guide the audience through the film, and added a "real villain" in the form of Gaston. These ideas were somewhat similar to elements of the 1946 French film version of Beauty and the Beast, which introduced the character of Avenant, an oafish suitor somewhat similar to Gaston as well as inanimate objects coming to life in the Beast's castle. The animated objects were, however, given distinct personalities in the Disney version. By early 1990, Katzenberg had approved the revised script, and storyboarding began again. The production flew story artists back and forth between California and New York for storyboard approvals from Ashman, though the team was not told the reason why.
Casting and recording
The filmmakers had originally considered casting The Little Mermaid's Jodi Benson as Belle. They eventually decided upon Broadway actress and singer Paige O'Hara in favor of having a heroine who sound "more like a woman than a girl". According to co-director Kirk Wise, O'Hara was given the role because she "had a unique quality, a tone she would hit that made her special", reminiscent to that of American actress and singer Judy Garland. O'Hara, who, after reading about the film in The New York Times, competed for the role against 500 hopefuls, believes the fact that lyricist Howard Ashman admired her cast recording of the musical Showboat proved integral in her being cast.
Production of Beauty and the Beast had to be completed on a compressed timeline of two years rather than four because of the loss of production time spent developing the earlier Purdum version of the film. Most of the production was done at the main Feature Animation studio, housed in the Air Way facility in Glendale, California. A smaller team at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Florida assisted the California team on several scenes, particularly the "Be Our Guest" number.
Beauty and the Beast was the second film, following The Rescuers Down Under, produced using CAPS (Computer Animation Production System), a digital scanning, ink, paint, and compositing system of software and hardware developed for Disney by Pixar. The software allowed for a wider range of colors, as well as soft shading and colored line effects for the characters, techniques lost when the Disney studio abandoned hand inking for xerography in the late 1950s. CAPS also allowed the production crew to simulate multiplane effects: placing characters and/or backgrounds on separate layers and moving them towards/away from the camera on the Z-axis to give the illusion of depth, as well as altering the focus of each layer.
In addition, CAPS allowed easier combination of hand-drawn art with computer-generated imagery, which before had to be plotted to animation paper and then xeroxed and painted traditionally. This technique was put to significant use during the "Beauty and the Beast" waltz sequence, in which Belle and Beast dance through a computer-generated ballroom as the camera dollies around them in simulated 3D space. The filmmakers had originally decided against the use of computers in favor of traditional animation, but later, when the technology had improved, decided it could be used for the one scene in the ballroom. The success of the ballroom sequence helped convince studio executives to further invest in computer animation.
Ashman and Menken wrote the Beauty song score during the pre-production process in Fishkill, the opening operetta-styled "Belle" being their first composition for the film. Other songs included "Be Our Guest," sung (in its original version) to Maurice by the objects when he becomes the first visitor to eat at the castle in a decade, "Gaston," a solo for the swaggering villain, "Human Again," a song describing Belle and Beast's growing love from the objects' perspective, the love ballad "Beauty and the Beast," and the climactic "The Mob Song."
As story and song development came to a close, full production began in Burbank while voice and song recording began in New York City. The Beauty songs were mostly recorded live with the orchestra and the voice cast performing simultaneously rather than overdubbed separately, in order to give the songs a cast album-like "energy" the filmmakers and songwriters desired.
During the course of production, many changes were made to the structure of the film, necessitating the replacement and re-purposing of songs. After screening a mostly animated version of the "Be Our Guest" sequence, story artist Bruce Woodside suggested that the objects should be singing the song to Belle rather than her father. Wise and Trousdale agreed, and the sequence and song were retooled to replace Maurice with Belle.
"Human Again" was dropped from the film before animation began, as its lyrics caused story problems about the timeline over which the story takes place. This required Ashman and Menken to write a new song in its place. "Something There," in which Belle and Beast sing (via voiceover) of their growing fondness for each other, was composed late in production and inserted into the script in place of "Human Again." Menken would later revise "Human Again" for inclusion in the 1994 Broadway stage version of Beauty and the Beast, and another revised version of the song was added to the film itself in a new sequence created for the film's Special Edition re-release in 2002.
Ashman died of AIDS-related complications on March 14, 1991, eight months prior to the release of the film. He never saw the finished film, though he did get to see it in its' unfinished format. Ashman's work on Aladdin was completed by another lyricist, Tim Rice. Before Ashman's death, members of the film's production team visited him after the film's well-received first screening, with Don Hahn commenting that "the film would be a great success. Who'd have thought it?", to which Ashman replied with "I would." A tribute to the lyricist was included at the end of the credits crawl: "To our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice, and a beast his soul. We will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman: 1950–1991."
A pop version of the "Beauty and the Beast" theme, performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson over the end credits, was released as a commercial single from the film's soundtrack, supported with a music video. The Dion/Bryson version of "Beauty and the Beast" became an international pop hit, reaching the Top Ten of the singles charts in the United States and the United Kingdom Later home video releases of Beauty and the Beast would include, as bonus features, new music videos featuring covers of the title song by Jump 5 (for the 2002 DVD release) and Jordin Sparks (for the 2010 Blu-ray/DVD release).
- "Belle" – Belle, Gaston, and Townspeople
- "Belle (Reprise)" – Belle
- "Gaston" – Gaston, LeFou, and Townspeople
- "Gaston (Reprise)" – Gaston and LeFou
- "Be Our Guest" – Lumière, Mrs. Potts, and the Enchanted Objects
- "Something There" – Belle, Beast, Lumière, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts
- "Human Again" (added in the 2002 special edition) – Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Wardrobe, Chip, and the Enchanted Objects
- "Beauty and The Beast" – Mrs. Potts
- "The Mob Song" – Gaston, LeFou, and Townspeople
- "Transformation (Beauty and the Beast – Reprise)" – Chorus
Release and re-releases
In a first-time accomplishment for The Walt Disney Company, an unfinished version of Beauty and the Beast was shown at the New York Film Festival on September 29, 1991. The film was deemed a "work in progress" because roughly only 70% of the animation had been completed; storyboards and pencil tests were used in replacement of the remaining 30%. Additionally, certain segments of the film that had already been finished were reverted to previous stages of completion. At the end of the screening, Beauty and the Beast received a 10-minute long standing ovation from the film festival audience. The completed film would also be screened out of competition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. The finished film premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on November 13, 1991, and went into wide release through Walt Disney Pictures on November 22.
Disney initially planned a re-release of the film to be released theatrically in December 1998 in an attempt of counterprogramming against DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt. The idea to restore the "Human Again" sequence was originally for this re-issue. However, due to impending competition from the aforementioned Prince of Egypt as well as The Rugrats Movie, Babe: Pig in the City and Jack Frost as well as Disney's own holiday release schedule being quite full with Enemy of the State, A Bug's Life and Mighty Joe Young, the re-release was delayed to spring 1999. When Disney decided to bump Doug's 1st Movie from direct-to-video to a theatrical release, that film took the re-release's date, delaying it to the holiday season. Presumably due to competition, like the year before, and Disney's own efforts to promote Toy Story 2, this release date was also canceled.
In 2002, Beauty and the Beast was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The film was restored and remastered for its New Year's Day, 2002 re-release in IMAX theatres in a special edition edit including a new musical sequence. For this version of the film, much of the animation was cleaned up, a new sequence set to the deleted song "Human Again" was inserted into the film's second act, and a new digital master from the original CAPS production files was used to make the high resolution IMAX film negative.
A sing along edition of the film, hosted by Jordin Sparks, was released in select theaters on September 29 and October 2, 2010. Prior to the showing of the film Sparks showed an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the newly restored high definition animated classic and the making of her all-new Beauty and the Beast music video. There was also commentary from producer Don Hahn, interviews with the cast and an inside look at how the animation was created.
A Disney Digital 3D version of the film, the second of a traditionally-animated film, was originally scheduled to be released in US theatres on February 12, 2010, but the project was postponed. On August 25, 2011, Disney announced that the 3D version of the film would make its American debut at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre from September 2–15, 2011. Disney spent less than $10 million on the 3D conversion. After the successful 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney announced a wide 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast in North America beginning January 13, 2012. Disney is planning a remake of "Beauty and the Beast" called "The Beast".
Home media releases
The film was released to VHS and Laserdisc on October 30, 1992 and in the UK in autumn, 1993 for a limited season as part of the Walt Disney Classics series, and was later put on moratorium. This version contains a minor edit to the film: skulls that appear in Gaston's pupils for two frames during his climatic fall to his death were removed for the original home video release. No such edit was made to later reissues of the film. The "work-in-progress" version screened at the New York Film Festival was also released on VHS and Laserdisc at this time.
Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition, as the enhanced version of the film released in IMAX/large-format is called, was released on 2-Disc "Platinum Edition" DVD and VHS on October 8, 2002. The DVD set features three versions of the film: the extended IMAX Special Edition with the "Human Again" sequence added, the original theatrical version, and the New York Film Festival "work-in-progress" version. This release went to "Disney Vault" moratorium status in January 2003, along with its direct-to-video follow-ups Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle's Magical World.
The film was released from the Disney vault on October 5, 2010 as the second of Disney's Platinum Editions, in the form of a 3-disc Blu-ray Disc and DVD combination pack; representing the first release of Beauty and the Beast on home video in high-definition format. This edition consists of four versions of the film: the original theatrical version, an extended version, the New York Film Festival storyboard-only version, and a fourth iteration displaying the storyboards via picture-in-picture alongside the original theatrical version. A two-disc DVD edition was released on November 23, 2010. A 5-disc combo pack, featuring Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray 2D, DVD and Digital copy, was released on October 4, 2011. The 3D combo pack is identical to the original Diamond Edition, except for the added 3D disc and digital copy. The Blu-ray release went into the Disney Vault along with the two sequels on April 30, 2012.
Upon the theatrical release of the finished version, the film received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it four stars out of four and saying that "Beauty and the Beast reaches back to an older and healthier Hollywood tradition in which the best writers, musicians and filmmakers are gathered for a project on the assumption that a family audience deserves great entertainment, too." He ranked the film as the third best film of 1991. James Berardinelli gave the film a four out of four stars and says, "As a romance, Beauty and the Beast is a delightful confection, creating a pair of memorable, three-dimensional characters and giving us reason to root for their union." Berardinelli has called the film the greatest animated film of all time and has ranked it No. 56 in his Top 100 Films, ahead of other famous films like No. 71 The Wizard of Oz, No. 80 To Kill a Mockingbird, and No. 94 Lawrence of Arabia. Among the reviews were some of the best notices the studio had received since the 1940s. The film holds a 92% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 92 reviews. The use of computer animation, particularly in the "Beauty and the Beast" ballroom sequence, was singled out in several reviews as one of the film's highlights.
Smoodin writes in his book Animating Culture that the studio was trying to make up for earlier gender stereotypes with this film. Smoodin also states that, in the way it has been viewed as bringing together traditional fairy tales and feminism as well as computer and traditional animation, the film's "greatness could be proved in terms of technology narrative or even politics". Another author writes that Belle "becomes a sort of intellectual less by actually reading books, it seems, than by hanging out with them", but says that the film comes closer than other "Disney-studio" films to "accepting challenges of the kind that the finest Walt Disney features met". David Whitley writes in The Idea of Nature in Disney Animation that Belle is different from earlier Disney heroines in that she is mostly free from the burdens of domestic housework, although her role is somewhat undefined in the same way that "contemporary culture now requires most adolescent girls to contribute little in the way of domestic work before they leave home and have to take on the fraught, multiple responsibilities of the working mother". Whitley also notes other themes and modern influences, such as the film's critical view of Gaston's chauvinism and attitude towards nature, the cyborg-like servants, and the father's role as an inventor rather than a merchant.
Betsy Hearne, editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, writes that the film belittles the original story's moral about "inner beauty", as well as the heroine herself, in favor of a more brutish struggle; "In fact", she says, "it is not Beauty's lack of love that almost kills Disney's beast, but a rival's dagger."
Stefan Kanfer writes in his book Serious Business that in this film "the tradition of the musical theater was fully co-opted", such as in the casting of Broadway performers Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach.
During its initial release in 1991, the film was a significant success at the box office, with $145,863,363 in revenues in North America alone. It ranked as the third most-successful film of 1991 in North America, surpassed only by the summer blockbusters Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. At the time Beauty and the Beast was the most successful animated Disney film release, and the first animated film to reach $100 million in North America. In its IMAX re-release, it earned $25,487,190 in North America and $5,546,156 in other territories for a worldwide total of $31,033,346. It has also earned $9,818,365 from its 3D re-release overseas. During the opening weekend of its North American 3D re-release in 2012, Beauty and the Beast grossed $17.8 million, coming in at the No. 2 spot behind Contraband, and also achieved the highest opening weekend for an animated film in January. The film was expected to make $17.5 million over the weekend, however, the results topped its forecast and the expectations of box office analysts. This re-release ended its run on May 3, 2012 and earned $47,617,067, which brings the film's total gross in North America to $218,967,620. It has also made an estimated $206,000,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $424,967,620.
Merchandise and spin-offs
Beauty and the Beast merchandise covered a wide variety of products, among them storybook versions of the film's story, a comic book based on the film published by Disney Comics, toys, children's costumes, and other items. In addition, the character of Belle has been integrated into the "Disney Princess" line of Disney's Consumer Products division, and appears on merchandise related to that franchise.
In 1995, a live-action children's series entitled Sing Me a Story with Belle began running in syndication, remaining on the air through 1999. Two direct-to-video midquels (which take place during the timeline depicted in the original film) were produced by Walt Disney Television Animation: Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas in 1997 and Belle's Magical World in 1998.
Disney On Ice produced an ice version of the movie that opened in 1992 in Lakeland, Florida. The show was such a huge commercial and critical success, touring around the world to sell-out crowds, that a television special was made when it toured Spain in 1994. The show ended its run in 2006 after a 14-year run.
According to an article in The Houston Chronicle, "The catalyst for Disney's braving the stage was an article by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich that praised Beauty and the Beast as 1991's best musical.... Theatre Under The Stars executive director Frank Young had been trying to get Disney interested in a stage version of Beauty about the same time Eisner and Katzenberg were mulling over Rich's column. But Young couldn't seem to get in touch with the right person in the Disney empire. Nothing happened till the Disney execs started to pursue the project from their end.... When they asked George Ives, the head of Actors Equity on the West Coast, which Los Angeles theater would be the best venue for launching a new musical, Ives said the best theater for that purpose would be TUTS. Not long after that, Disney's Don Frantz and Bettina Buckley contacted Young, and the partnership was under way." A stage condensation of the film, directed by Robert Jess Roth and choreographed by Matt West, both of whom moved on to the Broadway development, had already been presented at Disneyland at what was then called the Videopolis stage.
On Monday, April 18, 1994, "Beauty and the Beast", premiered on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in New York City. The show transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 11, 1999. The commercial (though not critical) success of the show led to productions in the West End, Toronto, and all over the world. The Broadway version, which ran for over a decade, received a Tony Award, and became the first of a whole line of Disney stage productions. The original Broadway cast included Terrence Mann as the Beast, Susan Egan as Belle, Burke Moses as Gaston, Gary Beach as Lumiere, Heath Lamberts as Cogsworth, Tom Bosley as Maurice, Beth Fowler as Mrs. Potts, and Stacey Logan as Babette the feather duster. Many well-known actors and singers also starred in the Broadway production during its thirteen-year run including Kerry Butler, Deborah Gibson, Toni Braxton, Andrea McArdle, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Christy Carlson Romano, Ashley Brown, and Anneliese van der Pol as Belle; Chuck Wagner, James Barbour, and Jeff McCarthy as the Beast; Meshach Taylor, Bryan Batt, Jacob Young, and John Tartaglia as Lumiere; and Marc Kudisch, Christopher Sieber, and Donny Osmond as Gaston. The show ended its Broadway run on July 29, 2007 after 46 previews and 5,461 performances. As of 2013, it is still Broadway's eighth longest-running show in history.
There are several video games that are loosely based on the film:
- Beauty and the Beast is an action platformer developed and published by Hudson Soft for the NES. It was released in Europe in 1994. Gaston, logically, is the final boss of the game because he wants to kill the Beast and marry Belle
- Disney's Beauty and the Beast is an action platformer for the SNES. It was developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Hudson Soft in North America and Europe in November 1994 and February 23, 1995, respectively. The game was published by Virgin Interactive in Japan on July 8, 1994. The entire game is played through the perspective of the Beast. As the Beast, the player must get Belle to fall in love so that the curse cast upon him and his castle will be broken, she will marry him and become a princess. The final boss of the game is Gaston, a hunter who will try to steal Belle from the Beast. There is even a snowball fight scene in the middle of the game and cutscenes between stages that tells the story of Beauty and the Beast.
- Beauty & The Beast: Belle's Quest is an action, platformer for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Developed by Software Creations, the game was released in North America in 1993. It is one of two video games based on the film that Sunsoft published for the Genesis, the other being Beauty & The Beast: Roar of the Beast. Characters from the film like Gaston can help the player past tricky situations. As Belle, the player must reach the Beast's castle and break the spell to live happily ever after. To succeed, she must explore the village, forest, castle, and snowy forest to solve puzzles and mini-games while ducking or jumping over enemies. Belle's health is represented by a stack of blue books, which diminishes when she touches bats, rats, and other hazards in the game. Extra lives, keys and other items are hidden throughout the levels. While there is no continue or game saving ability, players can use a code to start the game at any of the seven levels.
- Beauty & The Beast: Roar of the Beast is the title of a side-scrolling video game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. The game was one of two games based on the film released for the Sega Genesis, the other game being Beauty & The Beast: Belle's Quest, both of which were produced by Sunsoft and released in 1993. As the Beast, the player must successfully complete several levels, based on scenes from the film, in order to protect the castle from invading villagers and forest animals and rescue Belle from the evil Gaston. Intermission screenshots between each level help to move the story along, as do mini-games. The Beast can crouch, jump, swing his fists, and use a special roar attack that will freeze the on-screen enemies for a brief period. He can sometimes locate items within a level to restore some of his health, and the game provides unlimited continues. It was often described as having a high difficulty level.
- Disney's Beauty & The Beast: A Boardgame Adventure is a Disney Boardgame adventure for the Game Boy Color.
The video game series ''Kingdom Hearts'' has a level in many of its games based upon the movie as well.
Awards and nominations
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's song "Beauty and the Beast" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, while Menken's score won the award for Best Original Score. Two other Menken and Ashman songs from the film, "Belle" and "Be Our Guest", were also nominated for Best Original Song. Beauty and the Beast was the first picture to receive three Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song, a feat that would be repeated by The Lion King (1994), Dreamgirls (2006), and Enchanted (2007). Academy rules have since been changed to limit each film to two nominations in this category.
The film was also nominated for Best Sound and Best Picture. It was the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture, and remained the only animated film nominated until 2010, when the Best Picture field was widened to ten nominees, and it's the only animated film nominated for the award when it had five nominees. It lost to the critically acclaimed thriller The Silence of the Lambs. It became the first musical in twelve years to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year following All That Jazz (1979) and the last one to be nominated until Moulin Rouge! (2001), ten years later.
With six nominations, the film currently shares the record for the most nominations for an animated film with WALL-E (2008), although, with three nominations in the Best Original Song category, Beauty and the Beast's nominations span only four categories, while WALL-E's nominations cover six individual categories.
While The Little Mermaid was the first to be nominated, Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. This feat was repeated by The Lion King and Toy Story 2.
|Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Won|
|Best Original Score|
|Best Original Song (for "Beauty and the Beast")|
|Best Original Song (for "Be Our Guest")||Nominated|
|Best Album for Children||Won|
|Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo With Vocal (For "Beauty and the Beast")|
|Song of the Year (For "Beauty and the Beast")||Nominated|
|Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture||Won|
|Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television (For "Beauty and the Beast")|
|Record of the Year (For "Beauty and the Beast")||Nominated|
|Best Pop Instrumental Performance (For "Beauty and the Beast")||Won|
|Album of the Year||Nominated|
In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten" lists of the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres based on polls of over 1,500 people from the creative community. Beauty and the Beast was acknowledged as the 7th best film in the animation genre. In previous lists, it ranked No. 22 on the Institutes's list of best musicals and No. 34 on its list of the best romantic American films. On the list of the greatest songs from American films, Beauty and the Beast ranked #62.
|ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards: Most Performed Songs in a Motion Picture||Won|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films: Best DVD Classic Film Release|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films: Best Music|
|Annie Awards: Best Animated Feature|
|BAFTA Awards: Best Original Film Score||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards: Best Special Effects|
|BMI Film and TV Awards: BMI Film Music Award||Won|
|DVD Exclusive Awards: Best Overall New Extra Features, Library Release|
|DVD Exclusive Awards: Best Menu Design||Nominated|
|Hugo Awards: Best Dramatic Presentation|
|Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Best Animation|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors: Best Sound Editing, Animated Feature|
|National Board of Review: Special Award for Animation|
|Satellite Awards: Best Youth DVD||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards: Outstanding Family Entertainment of the Year||Won|
American Film Institute recognition:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – No. 34
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
- Belle – Nominated Hero
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
- "Beauty and the Beast" – No. 62
- "Be Our Guest" – Nominated
- AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – No. 22
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 – No. 7 Animated film
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- Beauty and the Beast @ Box Office Mojo
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- Tale as Old as Time: The Making of Beauty and the Beast (VCD). Walt Disney Home Entertainment. 2002.
- Thomas, Bob (1991). Disney's Art of Animation: From Mickey Mouse to Beauty and the Beast. New York.: Hyperion. pp. 160–2. ISBN 1-56282-899-1.
- Trousdale, Gary; Wise, Kirk; Hahn, Don; and Menken, Alan (2002). DVD audio commentary for Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition. Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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- Sito, Tom (2006). Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions From Bosko to Bart Simpson. The University Press of Kentucky. p. 301. ISBN 0-8131-2407-7.
- Nichols, Peter M. (2003). The New York Times Essential Library: Children's Movies. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 27–30. ISBN 0-8050-7198-9.
- Hahn, Don (2009). Waking Sleeping Beauty (Documentary film). Burbank, California: Stone Circle Pictures/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
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- Griswold, Jerome (2004). The Meanings of "Beauty and the Beast": A Handbook. Broadview Press. p. 249. ISBN 1-55111-563-8.
- Humphreville, Kim. "La Belle et la Bete". WCSU. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- Hischak, Thomas S (2011). "Voice Guide to Disney Animated Films and Characters". Disney Voice Actors A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 158. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
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- (2006) Audio Commentary by John Musker, Ron Clements, and Alan Menken. Bonus material from The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition [DVD]. Walt Disney Home Entertainment.
- Kanfer (1997), p. 228.
- "Celine Dion And Peabo Bryson – Beauty And The Beast". Chart Stats. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
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- Disney to Remake Beauty and the Beast As Live-Action Film
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- Weekend Report: 'Contraband' Hijacks MLK Weekend
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- Beauty and the Beast (3D) @ Box Office Mojo
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