When special effects do their job, they create an illusion so seamless we forget we’re looking at something that’s not really there. The Beast in Disney’s hit live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast is such an impressive work of motion-capture technology that it can be easy to overlook the amount of effort, energy, and looking incredibly stupid in a giant gray unitard required to turn Dan Stevens into a feral creature.
Are you a formerly handsome, monstrously cursed prince with lots of money, a huge castle, and in dire need of a beautiful woman to show you true love? Well this Belle figure from Hot Toys may not be real, but you look like a minotaur, so it’s about as good as you’re going to get.
This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
Welcome to the calm before the storm. With a handful of blockbuster movies already released, and more on the way, the second weekend in April was a relatively quiet affair, with a few old favorites dominating the weekend yet again and a few new releases grabbing whatever box office they could before things get fast and furious at your local multiplex. Let’s take a look at the projected grosses through Sunday afternoon.
In a parallel universe where Paramount Pictures doesn’t alienate its fanbase, we might be talking about Ghost in the Shell as the big winner of this weekend and the de facto start of a new wave of Japanese Hollywood adaptations. Instead, DreamWorks Animation and The Boss Baby blew up the box office, no doubt delighting a handful of DreamWorks executives who watched the Ghost in the Shell controversy unfold with glasses of champagne in hand. After all, nobody’s going to boycott a movie about a baby who wears a suit.
After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
It might be a tale as old as time, but audiences have proven there’s still a few petals left on that old flower. Despite being projected to open at somewhere between $214–245 million worldwide, Beauty and the Beast knocked the pants off those projections, eclipsing $350 million at the international box office and setting a March record for domestic releases along the way. Let’s take a look at how things shook out this past weekend with some of the expected grosses.
Everyone who knows The Lion King remembers that signature opening sequence with the classic musical number “The Circle of Life.” But did you know this great scene was originally planned without the song? Originally, Disney filmmakers thought this sequence would be heavy on dialogue, laying out all the various characters and aspects of the plot. But then they heard the instrumental version of “Circle of Life” and realized the scene would be much stronger by letting it play. That’s just one of the kingly facts in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
To say that the first trailer for Beauty and the Beast was evocative of the 1991 animated classic would be an understatement; it was a live-action carbon copy, and if Disney’s remake of Cinderella was any indication, we were in for yet another tedious — if visually stunning, well-acted and beautifully-designed — exercise in nostalgia-based capitalism. But Bill Condon’s live-action update of Beauty and the Beast is more reimagining than remake, a lavish and lovely take on a familiar tale (as old as time, no doubt) that enriches its source material without betraying it, embellishing a cherished antique with modern ideas.
In the United States, Jackie Chan is known as one of the greatest action stars in film history. But Jackie Chan is a true Renaissance man, with many skills he has rarely had the opportunity to display to American audiences. For example: Did you know he is a classically trained opera singer? Though he’s rarely gotten to sing on the big screen, Chan did show off his vocal chops in the Mandarin-language version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And not only did he provide the Beast’s spoken dialogue, he also sang the film’s songs. In the video above, you’ll see him in the music video for the Chinese version of the original “Beauty and the Beast” theme song.