Later trailers would go on to say the Beauty and the Beast was making history with its award nominations and achievements. The trailers showcased how the film had multiple layers and wide audience appeal. Also highlighting the critical acclaim of Beauty and the Beast was a way to get the adult audience interested in the film.
Another way Beauty and the Beast was advertised was through its music. Beauty and the Beast had a traditional soundtrack but unlike some of the animated films that came before it there was also a popular culture rendition of the title song. Sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson who arguably are not two artists children of the time would recognize but their parents would. There was even a music video made for the song. This was advertising in a new way since the video could be seen on music video channels and on tv. Animated film was breaking new ground as a pop culture event more than just a children’s film. Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney animated film to do this but popular music for the soundtrack and a video to go with it has become common place for Disney animated films.
Beauty and the Beast also received publicity through behind the scenes style scenes on other video releases. At the beginning of the Jungle Book VHS there is a clip of Jeffery Katzenberg. He is introducing himself as well as promoting the latest and greatest animated film Beauty and the Beast. He discusses the film in terms of how it fits into the history of Disney animation but also is advancing Disney animation. Arguably this is also a bit of shameless self-promotion on the part of Mr. Katzenberg but it harkens back to the Walt Disney tradition of giving the audience a sneak peak and a feeling of being an insider.
Two types of posters were often created for Disney’s contemporary animated features. Beauty and the Beast was no exception. Disney knew it wanted adults as well as children to see the film. The first poster type was kept very simple and included silhouettes of the characters. This simplistic design often appealed to the adult audience. The second type of poster created was often bright and colorful. It highlighted the cartoonish aspects of the film. Once again Disney was attempting to draw a large age spectrum for their audience. The hope being that Beauty and the Beast could make history not only critically but commercially as well.
The advertising attempts by Disney must have worked because Beauty and the Beast grossed $145 million in its first year. It would be the third grossing film of that year (Stewart, 122). Also the advertising campaign seems to have drawn the adult audience Disney wanted. The Times reported that in theaters adults viewing Beauty and the Beast outnumbered children at a ratio of ten to one (Stewart, 122). This shows that Beauty and the Beast was able to be respected and enjoyed by audiences of all ages. It had exited the realm of cartoonish kiddy fair and was seen as a great animated film.
Because of the commercial success of Beauty and the Beast Disney was able to make changes inside the studio but also had some issues that were being ignored. By the time the film was its most popular Disney decided that its focus should be on the success of animation. Michael Eisner especially wanted to focus on what animation had accomplished. As such he decided to build the animators a brand new studio (Stewart, 121). Beauty and the Beast also ensured that 1992 was a record year for Disney financially (Stewart, 124). But as a consequence of the animation doing so well Disney’s live action films suffered (Stewart, 142). This shows that especially within Disney studios Beauty and the Beast made strides that helped pave the way for animation getting more respect and attention.