While Disney certainly found both commercial and critical success with live-action remakes like The Jungle Book and Cinderella, this March’s Beauty and the Beast was its big test. Those other films were beloved to be sure, but Beauty and the Beast was released just 25 years ago, meaning the key demographic of people that go see movies or would take their kids are exactly the right age to have extremely strong feelings about the animated original. Luckily, Disney and director Bill Condon struck the right note to the tune of $1.1 billion (and growing), and the massive success of the musical has spurred Disney to fast-track other millennial-beloved remakes like Aladdin, Mulan, and The Lion King.
But Beauty and the Beast as a franchise may not be done just yet. Shortly after the film’s release, word broke that Disney was considering a potential spinoff or prequel to the film, exploring ideas to expand on the Beauty brand. However, the film’s star Emma Watson revealed recently to Access Hollywood that not only would she be up for returning for a sequel, she has her own idea for Beauty and the Beast 2:
“I would love to do a sequel… I always thought that Belle would become a teacher and she would run a library in the castle and open it up to the village. This was where I was going.”
When Watson signed onto the film, she brought a lot of herself to the role of Belle and ensured that the character would have agency and dimensionality. This sequel idea certainly expands on Belle’s role as an intelligent and kind character, but it may be tricky to find the right antagonist or story twist to provide some drama there.
Moreover, Disney may be wary of doing a direct sequel anytime soon given that the expensive Alice Through the Looking Glass was a massive flop. Alice in Wonderland grossed over $1 billion, but the sequel scored a mere $299 million against a $170 million budget. That is a tremendous step down from the first film, and while the time lag may have had something to do with it (it arrived six years after the first movie came out), it was still a pricey misfire.
Additionally, the Mouse House doesn’t have to make a Beauty and the Beast sequel, spinoff, or prequel. They’re sitting pretty as-is with plenty of new high-profile remakes on the horizon, so it may not be worth potentially messing up a good thing. One hopes that they’d only move forward if the right idea struck, whether that’s Watson’s sequel or some sort of prequel or spinoff idea as previously reported.
What do you think folks? Would you want to see Beauty and the Beast 2, or would you rather see some sort of prequel or spinoff? Or nothing at all? Sound off in the comments below.