Disney+ to Get ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Musical Series

The Walt Disney Co. on June 15 confirmed that a “Beauty and the Beast” prequel is in the works, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the classic 1991 animated movie.

The prequel will come in the form of a limited musical series bound for Disney+, the company’s subscription streaming service.

The eight-episode series, from Disney Branded Television and ABC Signature, is being billed by the company as a prequel to the 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast. It will star Luke Evans and Josh Gad, reprising their roles as Gaston and LeFou (Louie), and introduce Briana Middleton (The Tender Bar) as Louie’s stepsister, Tilly.

“Beauty and the Beast,” the series, is developed, executive-produced and written by Gad, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (“Once Upon a Time”), each serving as a co-showrunner. The series’ creative team also includes Tony Award-nominated director Liesl Tommy, who has come on board as an executive producer and will direct the first episode.

The project will feature an original soundtrack from the composer Alan Menken, who will also serve as executive producer, and lyrics for the first episode will be by Oscar-nominee Glenn Slater (Tangled). Production will begin in spring 2022.

Disney Moving All ‘Vault’ Movies to Streaming Service

Disney plans to move all legacy original movie franchises such as The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Bambi and The Little Mermaid from its “vault” and onto the pending Disney+ subscription streaming service.

CEO Bob Iger alluded to the change March 7 during the media giant’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis.

“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service,” Iger said.

The Disney Vault was a marketing plan originated by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that put select packaged media release movies, animated features and sequels on retail moratorium.

Disney advertising urged consumers to purchase select titles before they “go into the vault” for a period of years, a move studio marketers felt heightened retail demand.

The marketing was successful as Finding Nemo and Beauty and the Beast rank as the top-selling DVD and sixth best-selling Blu-ray Disc titles, respectively, in the United States.

Nemo, which was released in 2003, has generated more than $677 million from sales of nearly 39 million DVDs. Beast has generated $102 million from 4.5 million Blu-ray units sold.