Trance scribe, Joe Ahearne, has signed on to write a live adaptation of Disney’s classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Ahearne is a brave man to continue with this project, considering legendary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro also has a live action Beauty and the Beast in the works, with none other than Emma Watson attached to star.
Ahearne recently helped write Danny Boyle’s Trance, an action film starring James MacAvoy and Vincent Cassel. As seen on Deadline.com, Trance has some dark undertones, so perhaps we can expect the same for his adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. As of now the work is simply titled The Beast.
While Ahearne and del Toro are no doubt brilliant filmmakers, I have to admit I’m not excited about either movie. My lukewarm sentiment stems from movie makers continually churning out remakes instead of coming up with fresh new ideas. Beauty and the Beast has already inspired its fair share of live action movies and television shows in recent past, including the movie Beastly, and both ABC and CW ordering Beauty and the Beast pilots in 2012.
Branching out from Beauty and the Beast, there was not one, but TWO remakes of Snow White in 2012, including Snow White and the Huntsman AND the significantly less successful Mirror Mirror. Neither movie was groundbreaking and just the tip of the iceberg in terms of fairy tales being adapted in to live action movies.
In addition to the new Beauty and the Beast(s), Disney also has Cinderella, Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, and Peter Pan in production, according to our friends at Vulture. Del Toro’s imdb page hints that he’ also busy writing a live action Pinocchio, in addition to Beauty and the Beast. And surely the list goes on.
Clearly dark, live action fairy tale’s are all the rage right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re all lucrative. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland made a killing in 2010 and has since grossed $334 million, with $119 million just on opening weekend. Now that there’s a new fairy tale movie being released every month the novelty is wearing off. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters bombed with a disappointing $19 million opening weekend in domestic theaters, while Jack the Giant Slayer didn’t fare that much better grossing $27 million when it opened last week. Perhaps it’s not necessarily the live action fairy tale aspect that’s deterring viewers, but perhaps it’s the fact that neither movie looked particularly good.
Disney, and other movie studios, must consider the live action fairy tales a smashing success, or there wouldn’t be so many. From time to time I too enjoy the dark version of a fairy tale, especially since that’s how they were originally intended. Hans Christen Andersen had very different endings and messages in his fairy tales than those portrayed by Disney. In fact between Andersen and the Brother’s Grimm there are still plenty of twisted tales that haven’t been adapted into movies yet, so why keep churning out movies we’ve already seen adapted countless times before?
Overall though, I’m a much bigger fan of classic fairy tales being adapted via animation over live action, including Brave, Tangled, Princess and the Frog, and the highly anticipated upcoming movie, Frozen. The animated versions are refreshing, charming, and fun for the whole family without trying too hard. Attempting to gear the usually candy coated fairy tale Hansel & Gretel to a young, male demographic just seemed like one big contradiction in itself.
At this rate it’s only a matter of time before the brains behind Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Superhero Movie will release with a Fairy Tale Movie… but then again that would just be a live action version of Shrek.