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Despite anti-gay protest, new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ flick beats box office records

GayRVA Staff | March 20, 2017

While “faith-based” groups aimed to curtail the success of the new Disney movie over an openly gay character, it appears there was no stopping this tale as old as time.

While forecasted to come out on top this weekend, the new live action Beauty and the Beast beat opening weekend records set over the last decade. Check out more from Rotten Tomatoes:

This weekend, Disney demolished the box office with a colossal debut for its fairy tale tentpole Beauty and the Beast which soared to a scorching $170M, according to estimates, generating the seventh largest opening weekend in history beating all Batman, Spider-Man, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter movies in the process. The big-budget epic also set new box office records for the biggest debuts ever for both March releases and PG-rated movies.

Last week, GayRVA ran a NCRM story detailing some protest efforts. According to that story,  Faith Driven Consumer had predicted “95% of Faith Driven Consumers are less likely to see BEAUTY AND THE BEAST due to Disney’s decision to include an ‘exclusively gay moment’ in the film.”

The character in question, LeFou, is featured in what is considered Disney’s first “openly gay moment” in their cinematic history. Played by actor* Josh Gad, director Bill Condon told Attitude: “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston… Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”

Activist groups and some movie theaters in the south boycotted the movie which they feared showed detailed same-sex love or something… but according to Refinery 29, the whole ordeal was a lot less exciting than one might have thought:

LeFou dances with a man for two seconds during the final ballroom scene. Everyone is switching partners, and he looks quite happy with his male one. It’s nice. It’s brief. It’s, frankly, super normal and totally fits within the narrative. Also, at another part they wear makeup for a minute but that barely counts.

It looks like the moral right’s base might have been a bit smaller than expected. Check out the trailer for Disney’s inclusive flick below:

*Editors note: We originally said the actor playing LeFou, Josh Gad, was gay. We were wrong and have since updated the text to reflect that.