As the spring creeps closer, some key movies are preparing for their premieres. One of the most high-profile among them, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, has already begun rolling out promotional material, from posters and trailers to behind-the-scenes clips. Many fans are ecstatic about the upcoming remake, especially with Emma Watson starring, since both her Harry Potter roots and the original animated film trigger nostalgia for most millennials.
Disney is using its notoriously plentiful marketing dollars to capitalize on said nostalgia, and posters and trailers have already given way to kid-marketed merchandise. Since Belle is one of the original Disney princesses, it makes sense that this live-action Belle would get her own doll – but Disney probably didn’t anticipate that fans would have such a strong reaction to their newest toy.
When a picture of the newest Belle doll was leaked earlier this week, Twitter did what Twitter does best and erupted into a storm of snarky commentary. The short version is, a lot of people think that this doll is heinous, and even more think that it looks like Justin Bieber. Check out some Twitter highlights, below:
that's not a beauty and the beast doll, it's a beauty and a beat doll https://t.co/iKta0dx38h— hailey (@biebertherapper) January 7, 2017
the question is: is it just the doll or does emma watson really look like justin bieber https://t.co/D2HUuKCNqm— callicat melia (@lukesalaric) January 7, 2017
I CANT STOP LAUGHING THIS IS SO TRAGIC pic.twitter.com/g0JZd9KUl0— sara (@diagonallcys) January 7, 2017
If you were ever worried about your job security, think about what's going through the mind of the guy in charge of this official Belle doll pic.twitter.com/H2wcWDeSPU— Ian Hecox (@SmoshIan) January 9, 2017
We wish we could say this is the first time Disney has really missed the boat on merch, but after originally leaving Rey out of their Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise, we’re just glad this error is more hilarious than offensive. This Belle blunder, if anything, has likely just generated some seriously unwanted attention for both Watson and Bieber (neither of whom appear to have disproportionately enormous heads).
That said, this mocking doesn’t come at a particularly good time for the movie, which still carries the onus of marketing this live-action remake to fans of the original animated classic. Though family ticket sales will still undoubtedly make Beauty and the Beast yet another Disney box office smash, the implications behind a live-action version of the film are a bit disturbing. The company wants fans to forget that they’ll be confronting the reality of uncanny-valley-crossing humanoid furniture and a giant CGI Beast, so negative attention for the human protagonist Belle is hardly what this marketing team needs.
At the end of the day, though, this is an absurd mishap that will likely be corrected with Disney’s next round of Belle-themed merch. Hopefully, when it comes to this freakish doll, the Internet can do something it’s not known for — forgive and forget.