20 Things You Didn’t Know About Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast poster, designed by John Alvin (Image via Disney)

Beauty and the Beast turns 25 today. Celebrate with some of the lesser-known facts about this landmark film.

Yes, it’s true that the 1991 animated film version of Beauty and the Beast is twenty-five years old today. If you were of an age to see it in theaters, you may want to give yourselves a moment to sit down and contemplate the amount of time that has passed since then.

Beauty and the Beast was one of Disney’s greatest successes of the 1990s. It grossed over $425 million worldwide and was the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Though it lost that particular award to The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty and Beast picked up awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for its title song).

The film was based on a French fairy tale written by novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in 1740. Her version was later abridged and adapted by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756, which is the version most commonly retold today. There’s evidence that even earlier stories influenced the tale, including the Cupid and Psyche myth written by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensi in The Golden Ass, published in the late second century (it’s also the only Ancient Roman novel to survive in its entirety).

Now, the film is back in the public consciousness thanks to both its 25th anniversary on November 13 (when it was released to the international market, anyway; audiences in the United States didn’t get to see it until November 22) and the upcoming release of a live-action remake. The remake, which will release in March 2017, features Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the Beast.

For all of its later success, however, the process of creating Beauty and the Beast for modern audiences could be incredibly stressful. Directors, writers, animators, and others involved in the project went through seemingly endless rounds of revision before settling on the timeless version you see today. Read on to learn more about their process, as well as some unusual facts you may have missed on your first (or second, or fifth, or twentieth) viewing of Beauty and the Beast.