‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the future of Disney’s live-action remakes

A version of this story appears in Entertainment Weekly #1459on stands now, or available here — and don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Step aside, superheroes. Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast opened March 17 to a whopping $357 million worldwide, shattering multiple box office records. Not only did Bill Condon’s lavish retelling earn the best PG-rated opening of all time, but it beat out last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for the biggest March opening ever.

Live-action remakes have been a cornerstone of Disney’s film strategy since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp, and the studio has been steadily mining its library of animated films to huge profits ever since, but Beauty and the Beast — starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens — is by far its biggest (and technically trickiest) revamp. After this success, the possibilities for the studio now seem almost limitless.

RELATED: Disney classics making new magic on screen

It’s no surprise, then, that the Mouse House — which also stores all the Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films in its arsenal — is charging full steam ahead with a whole slate of live-action reboots, including Mulan, Aladdin, The Lion King, and more. That vision syncs up pretty well with the man who founded the place. “What Walt Disney did with all these animated classics was that he took these tales that he knew were timeless and he reinvented them,” says Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. “So we thought, Well, we can reapproach these stories with the very best talent and the very best technology available, and we can try to make them reflect the world around us a little more.”

So far it seems to be working: While a few of Disney’s live-action originals, such as John Carter and The Lone Ranger, have flopped, fans have flocked to see the animated characters they love return to the big screen. “For many audiences, these characters are Disney’s superheroes,” Bailey says. “Marvel has Captain America, Iron Man, Thor. Disney has Belle, Cinderella, Simba.”

But if you’re worried that Beauty’s massive box office will motivate Disney to use it as a formula for future films, fear not. Bailey says that the studio sees every film as its own entity. The current draft of the new Mulan, for example, ditches the songs altogether. “I think it’s dangerous to fall into a playbook approach,” Bailey says. Theoretically, the studio could churn out updates until it has exhausted its entire library, but it’s really only looking at updating films that are at least 20 years old. Which means? “No live-action Frozen for quite some time,” he says, laughing.

Okay, now that we’ve crushed those dreams, let’s talk sequels. If princesses are the new superheroes, does that mean Disney is setting these movies up as franchises, Marvel-style? Not yet, at least. There are currently no plans for a Beauty sequel or spinoff, but Bailey isn’t closing the book on the idea, and he says there’s a possibility of another story set in the same world or a spinoff focusing on a side character. “I feel like is a pretty whole experience, but nothing is off the table if we find an idea that excites us,” he says.

And if the studio does decide to greenlight a follow-up, it may not have to look far for inspiration. When asked whether he had discussed a potential sequel, Dan Stevens replied, “Only Josh Gad’s ridiculous ideas. That’s sort of what Josh does, comes up with mad ideas.” Hey, be our guest, Josh.

24 March 2017 | 3:00 pm

Devan Coggan

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri Trailer

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight)
Expires: 11/24/2017 12:00 AM
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is an upcoming film written and directed by Martin McDonagh. It stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production company: Film4 Productions
Written by: Martin McDonagh
Cinematography: Ben Davis

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Watch “Braxton Family Values” Season 5 Episode 17

braxton-family-values-s05“Braxton Family Values” is back! Season 5 Episode 17 aired on WeTV Thursday night (Mar. 23).

Towanda’s divorce battle continues. Later, sudden glitch injures Toni right before she’s about to perform, and a taste test quickly turns south when Tamar and Trina get heated over Bar Chix.

Watch “Braxton Family Values” Season 5 Episode 17 Here:


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24 March 2017 | 3:00 am


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‘Casting JonBenet’ trailer reflects on and refracts a notorious murder case

Netflix has released a haunting trailer for Casting JonBenét, Kitty Green’s unconventional documentary about the unsolved murder of the 6-year-old pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey.

Unlike a standard true-crime documentary, Green’s film doesn’t focus on the objective details of the infamous 20-year-old case but instead holds up a mirror to the public’s enduring fascination with it — and ultimately goes through the looking glass.

Shooting over 15 months in Ramsey’s hometown of Boulder, Colo., Green auditioned local actors to portray Ramsey and her family members in various dramatizations, each one reflecting people’s own interpretations of the crime. The result is darkly kaleidoscopic, blurring fact and fiction while revealing how and why the case still resonates.

Watch the trailer above, and see the poster below.

Casting JonBenét debuts April 28 on Netflix.

24 March 2017 | 2:20 am

Oliver Gettell

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LaVar Ball and Stephen A. Smith Go At It: “Something Is Wrong With You!”

stephen-a-smith-lavar-ballLaVar Ball has become well-known recently for a number of ridiculous claims about himself and his three basketball playing sons. Some of the most notable is that he expects his first born, Lonzo Ball of UCLA, to receive a billion dollar endorsement straight out of college, going after Charles Barkley’s intelligence, and, of course, claiming he would’ve beat Michael Jordan 1-on-1 in their primes.

His proclivity to run his mouth off without seemingly stopping to think has garnered him a lot of negative press lately, but it hasn’t slowed him down. He’s confident in what he says, so much so, that he decided to go onto ESPN’s First Take Thursday and take on professional arguer and gifted yeller, Stephen A. Smith.

And boy, it did not disappoint. Both of these guys have larger than life egos and even bigger confidence in their opinions, so when the two went toe to toe today, it made for great television. It started off as cordial as you could expect, but the pleasantries quickly dissolved into a full-fledged argument that seemed to be about who could yell louder.

Smith went after Ball on some of his more outlandish claims, but Ball, to his credit, stood his ground. On the Michael Jordan claim:

Smith: You were tired from dancing, and you’re gonna talk about how you’re going to beat Michael Jordan?

Ball: Michael Jordan. How he gonna beat me?

Smith: Pick your poison.

Ball: How is he going to beat me?

Smith: Why are you doing this? Is this another marketing tool of yours?

Ball: Check this out. Everybody used to say, ‘who’s the best? Michael Jordan or

LeBron?’ They say, ‘who’s the best? Kobe or LeBron?’ Guess what the story is now?! Who’s better? LaVar, or Michael Jordan?

Smith: Ain’t nobody gonna be picking no damn LaVar.

Ball: Yes they are.

And then when discussing if Lonzo Ball is better than Steph Curry.

Ball (on Steph): Soon enough they’re gonna double him up and he’s gonna lose the ball. He too little. Now you put Lonzo on there with all them athletes and running and gunning, and guess what?

Smith: You’re son is that much bigger than Steph Curry?

Ball: He’s bigger than Steph Curry. Steph Curry’s what, 6’2”?

Smith: He’s 6’3″, 6’4″.

Ball: OK, I’ll let him be 6’4” and he’s still shorter than my boy. Long arms! Can he jump?! Can he run?! Not like my boy.

Smith: Oh, my God, how do you…something is wrong with you!

Ball: Yes!

The whole interview, which clocks in at just over 20 minutes, is well worth watching, especially if you like to see two people, completely talking out of their ass, trying to out-yell the other. I, for one, am a big fan.

LaVar Ball and Stephen A. Smith Go At It: “Something Is Wrong With You!” is a post from: Gossip On This – Pop Culture, News, Videos & Humor

23 March 2017 | 10:05 pm

Adam Roper

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Noomi Rapace may be an alien in trailer for sci-fi thriller ‘Rupture’

In the science fiction film Rupture, Noomi Rapace places a single mother named Renee who is deathly terrified of spiders and is violently abducted by a group of strangers.  After enduring intense questioning and examinations, Renee discovers she is now the subject of an underground experiment and her captors believe she has a genetic abnormality that can potentially allow her to “rupture” and reveal her alien nature. 


RELATED: Noomi Rapace, Michael Chiklis in sci-fi thriller Rupture first look

Rupture is directed by Steven Shainberg (Secretary) and costars Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishé, and Michael Chiklis. The film is available to watch on DirecTV starting March 30 and is released in theaters and on VOD and Digital HD on April 28.

Watch the film’s new trailer, above.

23 March 2017 | 9:22 pm

Clark Collis

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The Black List: Redemption 03.23.2017 TVClip

The Blacklist: Redemption – Borealis 301(NBC) Air Date: 03/23/2017 10:00 PM
Expires: 04/06/2017 12:00 AM
BOREALIS 301 (TV-14)
On the hunt for a ring of ruthless thieves who steal classified material, Tom (Ryan Eggold) and Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi) must go undercover on an international flight they believe will be hijacked. Howard (Terry O’Quinn) urges Tom to find proof of a conspiracy orchestrated by Scottie (Famke Janssen).

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First Dates 04.07.2017 TVClip David And Annie

First Dates: Series Premiere (NBC) Air Date: 04/07/2017 12:00 AMExpires: 06/22/2017 12:00 AM
Everyone can relate to the experience of a first date: the promise of potential love when it goes well and the hilariously awkward moments if it crashes and burns. From executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, narrated by Drew Barrymore and based on the hit U.K. format, this new series offers a voyeuristic look at a variety of real first dates happening throughout one night at the same restaurant in Chicago. The daters are of all ages, backgrounds and from across the U.S. The audience will be along for the ride in a refreshingly authentic viewing experience that plays like a real-life romantic comedy. At the end of each episode, we will find out if the participants want to see each other again for a second date or if they head back to love’s drawing board.

Executive Produced By Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman for A Very Good Production, Pam Healey and John Hesling for Shed Media, Tim Carter for Twenty Twenty. Anthony Dominici also serves as executive producer.

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Ryan Gosling explains what it’s like to make a Terrence Malick movie

Ryan Gosling was cast in what would become Terrence Malick’s Song to Song back during Barack Obama’s first term, in 2011. Which is to say the new film, expanding to more theaters nationwide this week after a limited release on March 17, has been in development for quite a long time.

“It’s interesting to watch Terry’s movies because Terry’s the star of the film. It’s his vision,” Gosling says about the project, which started filming in Austin, Texas in 2012. “It was so educational to watch his process over these years because it doesn’t end with filming. There were a few years that went by where it was just voice-over — he would play with voice-over on these images and so many different cuts of the film, like a painter who kept painting over his own painting even though it was finished. It’s a different perspective. It’s a completely different way of looking at all of it. I think everyone would tell you that deconstructing it in that way was so helpful because it just adds a perspective to the future challenges you’re going to have on more traditional films.”

Ostensibly set in the world of the Austin music scene, Song to Song — which premiered at the city’s South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this month — stars Gosling as BV, a fledgling musician who catches the eye of a fellow talent (Rooney Mara) and a slippery record producer (Michael Fassbender). The trio’s complicated relationships make up the heart of the film, which also costars Cate Blanchett (as a socialite who enters Gosling’s world) and Natalie Portman (as a waitress who embarks on a doomed romance with Fassbender). Song to Song caps what has been a prolific period for Malick, the reclusive director who went 20 years between 1978’s Days of Heaven and 1998’s The Thin Red Line; since his comeback feature, 2011’s best picture nominee Tree of Life, Malick has released three films — To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and Song to Song — and even made a rare public appearance to promote Song to Song at SXSW.

“He’s one of the funniest people I’ve worked with,” Gosling says of his director. “You don’t get a sense of that really from his films, but he’s much funnier than I expected. … The way he sort of sees the world is really funny.”

Asked about Malick’s nontraditional filmmaking method, which values creating a mood over servicing narrative, Gosling adds, “It just seemed to me like he was trying, through this unique process of shooting, to take a sledgehammer to themes and break them into smaller pieces. So he could reassemble them into a different form that could sort of give the audience an opportunity to see them from a different perspective.”

For an actor, that meant breaking from traditional as well. “There’s no real regard for the rituals that most people are dependent on in filmmaking: continuity, linear storytelling, traditional coverage, a script,” Gosling says, adding Malick would call those expected pillars of filmmaking “cinder blocks that are holding you down.”

“He’s pushing himself and the people around him to not fall back on tradition and to sort of find new ways of telling a story about traditional themes,” he says.

Malick’s desire to push the limits of storytelling extends to audiences that watch his films, too: The director’s last three features — all broadly about themes of male ennui — have won a fair share of praise from film critics and also some scathing critiques. According to Gosling, the response is par for the course.

“I think they’re polarizing because his work is so unique. There’s nothing like it,” he says. “Again, you can watch a few seconds of a Terrence Malick film, and there’s no doubt who made it. You can never confuse a moment of his films for someone else’s films. Someone who is that unwavering and uncompromising in their artistic pursuits is bound to polarize people.”

Song to Song is out now.

23 March 2017 | 11:18 am

Christopher Rosen

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Watch “Black Ink Crew” Season 5 Episode 12

black-ink-crew-season-5“Black Ink Crew” Season 5 Episode 12 aired on VH1 Wednesday night (Mar. 22).

The crew party on a boat off the coast of Puerto Rico, but things get rocky when Ceaser exposes the truth about Nikki’s past. Later, Melody and Lalo commit their lives to each other, and Dutchess makes an emotional plea to win Ceaser back.

Watch “Black Ink Crew” Season 5 Episode 12 here:


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23 March 2017 | 4:22 am


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