Beauty and the Beast Earns $16.3 Million In Thursday Previews

Josh Gad as Le Fou and Luke Evans as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast

The Grammy and Emmy-Award winning McDonald, 46, returns to movies this week with Disney's live action Beauty and The Beast.

After a solid Thursday night opening, "Beauty" is projected to bring in $140 million this weekend, according to analysts.

Edwin: Since neither of us have mentioned Emma Watson, I take it you find her at most a passable Belle.

With the help of his eccentric household servants, Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and others, Beast begins to entertain the fact that Belle may be the one who will free him of his curse.

"It's genuinely romantic, a genuinely handsome story", Menken said of its lasting appeal. But for now, I am simply looking forward to seeing this childhood film come to life and, I'm not going to lie, the bibliophile in me is really looking forward to seeing that dream library come to life -that was always my favourite scene. The one who steals the show is Josh Gad, as Gaston's goofy, but lovable sidekick LeFou. It must be true what they say about playing a villain being more fun.

The point is, while it is great that these films are being remade and being exposed to new audiences, it is also important that they continue to grow with the changing times. Favreau is also working on Jungle Book 2 and The Lion King, while Aladdin has just kicked off the casting phase.

Director Bill Condon does a competent job but fails to elevate the story above anything more than a what comes off as a cover band version of the 1991 movie. The Beast's look, meanwhile, was achieved by combining performance capture and MOVA, a facial capture system, meaning Stevens throughout production walked on stilts and sported a prosthetic muscle suit with a gray body suit on top.

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The characters are more fleshed out as well.

Bruce: I'll concur on those and add that I thought Dan Stevens made the Beast's growth more real for me, and Luke Evans was thoroughly entertaining as Gaston. It might have just been that the other characters were so much more entertaining that Watson's Belle got washed away.

The Disney princess is no longer a damsel in distress.

That the woman behind the character is also the United Nations women's goodwill ambassador only adds to its resonance.

If they can handle the original, they can probably handle the remake, although the difference between violent things being done to cartoon characters and those being done to humans (or a CGI-rendered Beast) may upset some smaller children.

While numerous beats, and even lines, remain the same as in '91, the world looks more diverse from the very first shots. "I make movies for the kids inside all of us, whether we're six or 60, '" Bailey said. So get the popcorn ready, assemble your pals (previously inanimate objects, furry creatures, etc.) to see the film and let us know whose big screen moments stood out to you.

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