Missing the Beauty

Steven Harper PiziksI subscribe to three different news feeds that specialize in media news so I can keep up with the latest media information for my media literacy class.  For weeks and weeks, a single story has dominated the headlines: the “gay moment” in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

By “dominated,” I mean the top four or five stories EVERY SINGLE DAY discuss this topic.  If you read media news, there is IS no other story.  They do try to vary the narrative.  How is the lyingly-named One Million Moms reacting?  What about that drive-in movie theater in Alabama that won’t show the theater?  How much gay is there?  Is LeFou an appropriate LGBT breakout character?  Gasp–Malaysia won’t screen it.  Gasp–Russia is slapping an “adults only” label on it.  Can we squeeze another interview out of a cast member?  How many times can we re-quote the director’s original statement?  And on and on.  The news eats a sandwich, vomits it onto a plate, eats it again, and barfs it back up, fork at the ready.

Really, the only question is: will this have an impact on the box office?

Psh.  No.  It won’t.  Did you see how much extra publicity this whole thing is getting?  No one is talking about anything but this movie.  Every network and news outlet has done multiple stories on it, and consumers are snarfing the vomit sandwich right down.  Couple that with nothing else opening this weekend (because no studio wants to compete with a major Disney opening), and you have the perfect set-up for a record-breaking blockbuster.  One Dozen Moms has their boobs in a bunch over this, but they only helped it happen, so maybe they need to learn from their mistakes and shut up.  They won’t, but they should.

Anyway, we got a close up and personal dose of the phenomenon.  I wanted to go see BEAUTY AND THE BEAST because I use the 1990 movie in media literacy class to talk about abusive relationships–Belle is trapped in a relationship with an abusive beast who isolates her from friends and family, won’t let her work or leave the house, expects her to fulfill his every wish (breaking the spell), pushes for a fast commitment, threatens violence, and shows sudden mood swings.  Textbook abuser.  In the end, Belle loves the Beast so much, that she literally changes him into a kind and gentle prince.  Great message to send our girls: when your man abuses you, it’s your job to love him enough that he’ll reform.  The abuse is YOUR fault.

Did Disney change this around for this new version?  I doubt it, but I want to see the movie so I can comment appropriately during the domestic violence unit.  Darwin and Maksim came along for the ride.

When we arrived at the theater for the 1:45 matinee, however, the ticket seller said, “We only have a few front-row seats left for that showing.”

I conferred briefly with Darwin and Maksim, and they said they were okay with that, so I asked for three tickets.

“Oops!” said the seller.  “It just sold out!  And so have the 2:45 and the 3:30 showings.  The 3:45 still has some seats.”

We didn’t want to wait around two hours, so we decided to wait until next weekend.

If this is any indication, however, One Dozen Moms and the other groups did their job–the show will shatter all kinds of records.

–Steven Harper Piziks

DANNY on sale now at Book View Cafe.

Danny Large



Missing the Beauty — 3 Comments

  1. Well of course—this is a tried-and-true marketing tactic. The best way to get people to do anything is to tell them they can’t. Ban someone’s book and sales go through the roof. That’s why, secretly, I think all authors hope their books will be banned: it shows they’re important enough to be noticed, and their royalty cheques will increase substantially in value!

    And of course, as soon as everyone takes the bait and finds out that there was nothing really to get worked up about after all, they’re left with a vague sense of being had, vowing to never let it happen again. Until next time.

    P.T. Barnum had that all figured out a long time ago…

  2. I really enjoyed it. I think Disney did a little better job in making this beast less abusive, but that does seem to be one of the key points of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. I don’t think I’ve read a single variation that doesn’t have the beast loosing his temper and controlling Belle through fear in the beginning.

    The “gay” moment is all of three seconds of two guys dancing together. Is that really worth all the fuss? Not in my opinion. I did enjoy the body language and the lines here and there that did indicate LeFou had an unrequited crush on Gaston. I think it gave a much needed depth to his character and made several events during the attack on the castle far more meaningful.

  3. I so appreciate that someone else reads the original Disney BatB the same way that I do, as the documentation of a classic build up to domestic violence and abuse. “If you just love him enough, he’ll change for you.”