Riding the momentum of its live-action revamps of classic fairy tale stories including this past weekend’s big debut for Cinderella, Disney has set a March 17, 2017, release date for Beauty And The Beast. Production is planned to begin in May in London with Harry Potter star Emma Watson as Belle, Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as his sidekick LeFou. Also joining the cast: Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle’s father.
Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga) is directing from a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky who rewrote Evan Spiliotopoulos’ original script. Alan Menken, who won two Oscars for the 1991 animated version, will score the film, which will feature new recordings of the original songs in addition to several new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing. Disney said the pic will be in 3D.
Linda Wolverton wrote the script for the 1991 animated version.
Cinderella grossed $132.5 million globally in its debut weekend and follows the success of 2014’s Angelina Jolie starrer Maleficent. That movie ended up being Hollywood’s sixth-most-profitable film of the year thanks to a $69.4 million opening weekend in May and a big $47.7M bump from China. All told, it made a whopping $190.77M in net profit.