When Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast hit theaters in 2017, it felt like a huge nostalgia bomb. It was so reminiscent of the studio’s 1991 animated film that for some fans, it felt like they were experiencing the beloved story all over again. For the original film’s directors, that wasn’t necessarily good news -- because despite it breaking box office records, they weren’t actually paid anything for the 2017 film. So, needless to say, they had some blunt thoughts about the remake.
Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale directed Disney’s 1991 animated version of Beauty and the Beast. In 2017, they were credited as creative consultants for the studio’s live-action version of the film. It turns out that was the only form of recognition they received. Kirk Wise told Collider they weren’t paid "a red cent" for the blockbuster remake, and according to Gary Trousdale:
No, there was no financial to it. And the fact that we got credit was a surprise to me.
Given that Beauty and the Beast was an enormous success -- it grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide -- it may seem shocking that the original creators didn’t see any of that money. While the 2017 remake wasn’t entirely a shot-for-shot recreation of the animated film, there are sections of it that come very close. The new Beauty and the Beast also used many of the same iconic songs and moments from its predecessor.
For his part, Tim Wise feels like the new trend of redoing animated films is a bit of a double-edged sword:
I have mixed feelings about the live-action remakes. On one hand, it’s great to have been involved in movies that have had so much longevity and have created so much affection for them in the audience that they’d be excited to see a new adaptation of the movie… But also, it’s like … go watch the old one.
It’s easy to see his point -- especially when you consider the fact that this issue isn’t just limited to Beauty and the Beast. Though Disney remakes have collectively grossed more than $7 billion in the last nine years, the original creators of the animated films -- like directors and screenwriters -- rarely get any credit for them. That’s why Gary Trousedale was so surprised he and Tim Wise were acknowledged.
According to Collider, the credit -- or lack thereof -- mostly comes down to behind-the-scenes details, like the fact that live-action films use different unions than animated films do. That still doesn’t answer whether or not it’s actually fair to the original creators.
Disney’s next live-action project is Mulan -- and, for the record, though the 1998 animated film it’s inspired by had more than two dozen writers, none of them are currently credited for the remake. While the studio is foregoing a theatrical release due to COVID-19, it will be charging a premium fee for fans to view Mulan on Disney+ when it hits the platform on September 4.