Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the traditional French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast is the 30th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. Additionally, it is third in the Disney Renaissance period. Starring Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson, Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast (Benson), a prince who is magically transformed into a monster as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle (O'Hara), a young woman who he imprisons in his castle. The film also features the voices of Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Angela Lansbury, who occupy supporting roles.
Walt Disney first attempted unsuccessfully to adapt Beauty and the Beast into an animated feature film during the 1930s and 1950s. Following the success of The Little Mermaid (1989), Disney decided to adapt the fairy tale, which Richard Purdum originally conceived as a non-musical. Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg eventually discontinued the idea and ordered that the film be a musical similar to The Little Mermaid instead, resulting in Purdum's resignation. Beauty and the Beast was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton story first credited to Roger Allers. Lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken wrote the film's songs. Ashman, who additionally served as an executive producer on the film, died of AIDS related complications eight months before the film's release, and the film was dedicated to his memory.
Beauty and the Beast premiered at the New York Film Festival on September 29, 1991, followed by a theatrical release on November 22
to critical acclaim. It has also earned a rare "A+" rating from CinemaScore. The film was a box office success, and has since garnered over $424 million worldwide. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for several awards, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Famously, Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film received five additional Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Score, Best Sound, and three separate nominations for Best Original Song. Ultimately, the film won Best Original Score, while Best Original Song was awarded to its title song. In 2002, Beauty and the Beast was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In April 1994, Beauty and the Beast became Disney's first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical. The success of the film spawned two direct-to-video followups: Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997) and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World (1998). This was followed by a spin-off television series, Sing Me a Story with Belle. An IMAX special edition version of the original film was released in 2002, with a new five-minute musical sequence, "Human Again", included. After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, the film returned to theaters in 3D under supervision of John Lasseter on January 13, 2012.