As expected, Disney's long-awaited live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast struck a powerful chord with moviegoers everywhere, to the tune of a record-breaking opening weekend of $174.7 million, the highest ever for the month of March, easily breaking the record set last year by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In almost every instance of a blockbuster success of this caliber, the movie's respective studios will often announce and/or confirm plans for a sequel on Monday, to capitalize on the momentum of their hit. That didn't happen yesterday though at Disney, with the studio's production president Sean Bailey confirming in a new interview that there will not be a sequel to Beauty and the Beast, although there may be prequels and/or spin-offs.
Deadline spoke with Sean Bailey, who told the site that the studio will explore various possibilities for prequels and spin-offs. Unfortunately, he wouldn't offer any specifics, but most of the Beauty and the Beast characters have rich backstories, particularly the servants in The Beast's castle who have been turned into various objects under the curse that befell The Beast. These characters already have plenty of star power behind them, with Ewan McGregor playing Lumiere, the candelabra, Stanley Tucci playing Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord, Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster, Hattie Morahan as the enchantress, Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
It's also possible that the studio could explore a spin-off featuring Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad), especially after it was confirmed that LeFou is Disney's first ever gay character. That news was met with some controversy, with an Alabama drive-in theater refusing to show the movie, calling it "gay propaganda." It wasn't immediately clear if other theaters banned Beauty and the Beast for this reason, but, judging from the record-breaking opening weekend, the movie certainly didn't suffer from this announcement. While Sean Bailey wouldn't elaborate more on the sequels and/or spin-offs, or why a sequel won't happen, it is believed that a recent sequel failure may have served as a warning.
Disney's impressive run of live-action blockbusters started in the first year of Sean Bailey's tenure, 2010, with Alice in Wonderland, which became the second Disney movie to crack $1 billion worldwide, following the 2006 action sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, with Toy Story 3 cracking $1 billion later in 2010 as well. Last year, the studio released the sequel Alice: Through the Looking Glass, with James Bobin replacing Tim Burton as director, although it did not fare nearly as well. While the original made $334.1 million domestic and $1.02 billion worldwide, from a $200 million budget, the sequel floundered, earning just $77 million domestic and $299.4 million worldwide, from a $170 million budget. It is believed that the sequel's failure has served as a warning for the studio, which could mean that they won't plan sequels to any of their live action fairy tale adaptations.
Sean Bailey, who was producing Disney's Tron: Legacy when he was named the president of production of the studio back in 2010, also revealed that the only Disney properties that are "off limits," are those that were produced by either Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios with 3D CGI animation, after the year 2000. The studio executive revealed that they are focused on both "classic properties" and projects from the studio's 2D renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s. The studio is currently developing Dumbo with Tim Burton, The Lion King with Jon Favreau and The Little Mermaid with Lin-Manuel Miranda, just to name a few. As for Beauty and the Beast, the movie recently crossed $400 million worldwide, and it will likely join the other Disney hits in the $2 billion worldwide club before it finishes its theatrical run.