By Rebecca Stokem, National News Writer
Disney’s new live-action release of its classic “Beauty and the Beast” brought in $170 million over the course of its opening weekend. The film has done the best on its opening weekend of any film so far in 2017, and has become the seventh-best film release in history. The expected gross income of the film was between $130 million and $150 million, so the premiere has exceeded the studio’s expectations. “Beauty and the Beast” also brought in $180 million in revenue outside the United States over opening weekend, according to Fox News.
The new live action version of the timeless classic actually remains relatively faithful to the original film, so for fans who were worried of the story changing too much, there is nothing to fear. Aside from some added backstory and explanation for plot holes in the original, the overall story and memorable characters are, for the most part, the same.
There was one notable change that has brought on some controversy: LeFou, Gaston’s comedy sidekick, is openly gay in the film. While this is not a central plot point in the movie, the brief clip of him dancing with another man has created some tension. A movie theater in Alabama is boycotting the film, Russia has restricted anyone younger than sixteen from seeing it, and Malaysia has requested for the dancing scene to be censored.
In a review of the film in the Huffington Post, journalist Matthew Jacobs notes that, while people are protesting the addition of LeFou’s sexual orientation in the film, there has not been much discussion about the change in weapon that Gaston uses against the Beast at the end of the film. In the original animated version, Gaston stabs the Beast with a knife; in this live-action version, he shoots the Beast with a gun. Jacobs writes, “It’s another example of an age-old cinematic double standard: Violence is OK, but sex and romance become the litmus test for what our culture sees as normal.” Jacobs writes that even though there is nothing wrong with violence in films, the treatment of “so-called adult topics” like sex and violence seems hypocritical.
In an interview with Fox News, Bill Condon, director of the film, stated that he is “sick of” how “overblown” the whole situation has become. He explained that this one portion of a scene is small in comparison to the rest of the film, and encourages everyone to go and see it for themselves and make their own decision. He also explained that there were more instances of diversity in the movie as well, citing the one interracial couple in the movie as well. Condon said that diversity was important to the whole cast and crew, and that the movie is “a celebration of everybody’s individuality, and that’s what’s exciting about it.” If Condon’s request for people to see the film for themselves is taken to heart, it’ll continue to be successful in theaters around the country and the globe.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 4th print edition.
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