Beauty and the Beast is one of the most popular animated films of all time! But just how much do you know about this magical film and it’s behind-the-scenes stories? Be our guest and check out our list of 15 enchanting facts and find out why Gaston’s end was so unique, what made Belle stand out, and the box office records the film broke.
The original fairy tale is a bit darker
You probably know that the film is based on a French fairy tale…but do you know how the original story went? There are lots of different versions, including ones where Belle has several sisters of siblings, sometimes evil step sisters, and there are no fun singing objects – Belle is all alone! Instead, food appears when she needs it, and she doesn’t meet the Beast for months! Spooky! In some endings, her wicked sisters are punished for being greedy too. We think we prefer Disney!
Belle is the only one in the village who wears blue
Colour is often used in film as a short hand to indicate what a character is like. You might have noticed how many Disney Villains wear purple? In the film, Belle is noticeably the only person in her village who wears blue. This is to help her stand out and indicate that she doesn’t quite fit in. Later the Beast also wears blue, symbolising the idea that they belong together. Cute!
Belle is the first brunette princess
Belle is the 5th official Disney Princess and the first one to have brown hair. Aurora and Cinderella were blonde, Snow White has dark hair, and Ariel is a brunette. Since then, she remains the only Disney Princess who’s a brunette – unless you count Rapunzel!
There is a cut song
Another song was meant to be in the film, called ‘Human Again’. It was sang by the enchanted objects in the castle, and it was all about getting excited to be turned back into their real selves again once the spell was broken. Although it didn’t make the final cut, you can find it on special editions of the film and on YouTube!
The beast is a hybrid of different animals
If you’re wondering which animal the Beast reminds you of, it’s probably about four! The beast is a combination of several scary real life animals, including a bear, a lion and a buffalo. Can you see it?
There are two sequels
Well, one sequel and one ‘mid-quel’ (taking place in the middle of the first film) called Belle’s Enchanted Christmas, all about trying to get the Beast to enjoy Christmas. Then there is Belle’s Magical World, made up of several different stories that were originally planned to become a TV series.
It was the first animated film nominated for Best Picture
That’s right, it was the first full-length animation to be nominated! Because animated films already have their own category, they weren’t usually nominated for Best Picture, but everything about Beauty and the Beast was so impressive it made the cut! Sadly it lost out on winning to The Silence of the Lambs, but it’s still really impressive!
Lots of different actors were considered for the roles
Originally, there were lots of different actors considered for the film. For instance, filmmakers were interested in Julie Andrews for Mrs. Potts, and Rupert Everett auditioned for Gaston. He eventually went on to the play a handsome, arrogant villain as Prince Charming in Shrek 2!
There is an Easter egg in Gaston’s eyes
An ‘Easter Egg’ (Special hidden feature) in the film happens during Gaston’s death scene – as he’s falling from the castle, tiny skulls appear in his eyes for a flash of a second, too quickly to notice with the naked eye. According to the film makers, this is meant to indicate that he does indeed die from the fall. Gruesome!
It was considered for development since the 1940s
Ever since his success with Snow White in the 1930s, Walt Disney was keen to get going with more fairy tales, and he started thinking about Beauty and the Beast in the 1940s. Although Walt didn’t make the film in the end, you can see the influence of another 1940s film – La Belle et la Bête, a French live-action version of the tale – on the 90s incarnation.
The Beast’s name is Adam
It’s never mentioned in the film (He’s always just called ‘Beast’, which seems kinda rude, but ok) but the Prince who is cursed to be a beast is actually called Adam. How do we know? Well, it apparently pops up in other media like a CD rom game of the film, and so lots of fans have decided to call him Adam. What do you think? Does he look like an Adam?
There was going to be a music box character
Originally, Chip the teacup only had one line. The designated ‘cute character’ was going to be a music box. However, because of the actors performance and the need to include a child’s perspective in the films, Chip was given more lines and became the films ‘cute character’. Phew, we couldn’t imagine it without him!
It took 600 artists to make
Yup, 600 artists! Hand drawn animation is a painstaking process which takes time and precision. Hundreds of artists took thousands of hours to create every character, background scene and backdrop in the film. It paid off, because it looks amazing!
You’ve seen that dancing somewhere before
If you get a sense of Deja-vu when you watch the last scene in the film (Belle and the Prince waltzing) that’s because you’ve seen it before. The movements are taken from the last waltz in Sleeping Beauty. Animators often take older material and reuse it to save time on projects, and as they were running out of time, they used this on Beauty and the Beast too.
It broke box office records
Not only did the film do well at the awards, it was also the first animated film to make over $100 million! This was a huge deal, and helped to create the Disney Renaissance of the 90s, which saw some of their biggest ever hits being produced, including The Lion King, Aladdin and Mulan.