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Live action 'Beauty and the Beast' movie planned by Disney

On June 4 Variety broke the news that a live action "Beauty and the Beast" film is in development by Disney, and will be based on the classic animated adventure. The announcement comes just a few days after "Maleficent," a similar film was a smash hit at the box office. The original film was released in 1991 and received an Oscar nomination.

Bill Condon
Photo by Jonathan Leibson

Disney has found success bringing back popular stories to the big screen, like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Oz the Great and Powerful," both of which were financially successful with audiences and have sequels in the works. Director Guillermo del Toro is also trying to make a live action version of the film, with Emma Watson in talks to play the lead role of Belle.

The new film will be directed by Bill Condon, whose previous work includes "Chicago," "Dreamgirls" and both films based on the final book in the "Twilight" saga. He is an ideal choice as director due to his familiarity with big musical numbers and adaptable stories. The Disney classic spawned a Broadway play and a show on ice.

Slashfilm revealed on June 4 that the film would be the third of it's kind to make it to the big screen after "Maleficent" and the planed live action "Cinderella" movie. The film on the maid turned princess will be directed by Kenneth Branagh and is scheduled for a 2015 theatrical release. The new film was pushed through by Disney due to its previous films about classic character raking in millions at the box office while making a profit against the high cost of special effects.

The production has nicknamed the project "The Beast," and Mandeville Films is producing the feature with a script from Evan Spiliotopoulos. The story follows a young woman named Belle, who lives in France with her father, an eccentric inventor and the town joke. One day he gets lost in the woods and finds a castle, only to be held prisoner there by a monstrous beast. Belle goes to the castle and offers to stay forever so her father can go free.

Over time, Belle and the beast become friends but there is a terrible curse that must be broken. The beast must get Belle to fall in love with him before a special rose in the castle dies, or he will be stuck as a beast forever. The original film grossed over three hundred and seventy-five million dollars worldwide at the box office and was a successful on VHS and DVD. There is currently no casting information and no official release date has been posted for the feature film.

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