This past Friday, a tale as old as time enchanted audiences once again. Continuing the live-action trend that companies use to transform animated classics into modern remakes, Disney released its much-anticipated “Beauty and the Beast.” After announcing the production about two years prior to its release date, no one could forget about this film. Besides “Beauty and the Beast” being a timeless Disney film, the media refused to let the public forget. Here are a few ways Disney used PR to create a buzz for their new movie.
Even if you did not grow up loving Disney princesses as much as I did, you probably know the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” or at least know of the main character, Belle. After 26 years, Disney reached out to that audience who grew up with Belle and invited them to be their guest one more time. The trailers they released and constantly promoted on social media mirrored those of the 1991 animated film. Clips of the adapted songs from the original popped up on social media leading up to the premier in order to play with the emotions of the audience. While the new movie featured a few new songs, and some storyline adaptations, Disney publicized those same characteristics of the old film to draw their audience in. By pulling at the audience’s heart strings in their marketing efforts, Disney captured and kept their audience’s attention many months prior to the actual release.
A modern lead
Emma Watson took the role of Belle and truly made it her own, publicizing as she went. Watson immediately stood out as an ideal perception of Belle, from her love of reading, strong personality and yearning for adventure. Belle is a princess full of courage and in charge of her own fate, and Watson kept these characteristics prevalent. She also made sure to incorporate what she thought a more modern Belle would need, such as turning down the ballet flats in the original plans and suggesting that Belle wear work boots to accommodate her adventures. Unlike the original, Belle is shown as an inventor, rather than her father’s assistant, creating a washing machine to do her laundry while she teaches a young girl to read. By publicizing this modern princess through Disney and outside publications, Belle appeals to girls of all ages as a strong female idol.
Disney utilized their media resources to promote the film through multiple channels. During “The Bachelor’s” commercial breaks, Luke Evans and Josh Gad gave commentary on love and sneak peaks of the film while surrounded by roses. With this common theme of the rose, ABC related their hit TV show to the upcoming film for promotion. The fame of the cast promoted the film as well, such as Evans’ and Gad’s appearances, and Watson’s front-page interview with Vanity Fair. Watson touched on her adaptation of Belle while in turn promoting the film to the audience of Vanity Fair, which is much different than that of a typical Disney princess movie.
Whether or not you are a fan of “Beauty and the Beast,” their PR efforts were extremely successful. Their brand and their promotions led to $170 million in U.S. ticket sales during its opening weekend and an additional $180 million overseas. Breaking multiple Hollywood records, “Beauty and the Beast” is an enchanting tale of a modern princess that has audiences raving and ready to see it multiple times, or maybe that’s just me.
Sarah Kelly is a junior strategic communication and marketing double major. Follow her on Twitter @S_Kelly14!