Once upon at time, CBS Films went into production on the second picture in their short history, “Beastly.” The modern day take on the classic “Beauty and the Beast” fable featured relatively unknown British actor Alex Pettyfer and “High School Musical” franchise star Vanessa Hudgens. That was way back in the summer of 2009. In fact, HitFix had a chance to visit the set and see what director Daniel Barnz (“Phoebe in Wonderland”) was up to at the time. Originally, “Beastly” had a release date in July 2010. Then it got pushed to March 18, 2011 and now it’s moved once again, to March 4, 2011. But, according to CBS Films, that’s good news.
The fledgling CBS Division has released two other films since “Beastly” began shooting, “The Back-Up Plan” and “Faster,” and is poised to open “The Mechanic” on Jan. 28. The initial delay in “Beastly’s” opening was to try and capitalize on Pettyfer’s growing starpower after February’s “I Am Number Four” (which shot this past summer) and Hudgens’ more adult work in Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch.” The latter will end up debuting after “Beastly” still, on March 26, but recent test screenings have given CBS Films hope the romantic drama could be their surprise success. The studio is also hoping it can get a bigger gross debuting against “The Adjustment Bureau,” “Rango” and “Take Me Home Tonight” rather than facing the second weekend of Catherine Hardwicke’s “Red Riding Hood” (March 11) which is targeting the same teenage girl demo. Then again, at a budget of just $18 million, hitting the profitability mark shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off, should it?
“Beastly” is now slated to open nationwide on March 4, 2011.