THEATER: Disenchanting Kingdom

A pyrotechnic Beauty and the Beast, with actors who are just cartoonish instead of cartoons, launches Disney on Broadway

The greatest of all Disney magic is the magic of copyright. More remarkable than Mickey or Dumbo or any other creation, pre- or post-Walt, has been the company's success in exploiting established franchises and accumulating new ones. Perhaps the most cunning Disney trick is to take fairy tales in the public domain and reinvent them as corporate property. A billion-dollar example is Beauty and the Beast, which has metamorphosed from a bedtime story known to every child into a megahit animated film (and an even bigger hit on video), a sound track, a theme-park attraction, an ice show, a lunch-box and...

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