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WIRE Buzz: Alan Menken boards Beauty and the Beast prequel, Quibi heads to TVs

By Jacob Oller
Beauty and the Beast

The upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast prequel series for Disney+, from Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, just landed a Disney legend and Beauty and the Beast expert. While the limited series focused on Gaston and LeFou’s early days — after the pair played by Luke Evans and Josh Gad broke out from the 2017 film — is still only in the pilot-scripting stages, it wouldn’t be Beauty and the Beast without music. It’s a very good sign that its music has now been confirmed to come from Alan Menken himself.

Menken, who composed the music for the original movie and Broadway adaptation of Beauty and the Beast (along with classics like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules) confirmed as much during a video interview with Young Artists of America.

Check it out:

“I have a sequel to–a PREQUEL–sorry a prequel. The story before. For Beauty and the Beast. That’s going to be on Disney Plus,” Menken explained. Now the only question is how many eggs will Gaston eat during the prequel songs? Probably less than the current canon, but not by much. Expect plenty of self-effacing jokes from the writing team, which also counts Gad among its members.

“Adam and I just fell in love with Josh Gad, and we called him the third Kitsis/Horowitz,” Kitsis recently told SYFY WIRE. “The three of us are writing the pilot,” Kitsis said. “We all had so much fun writing together that we went right into this. It's early stages, but we think it'll be a fun idea.”

Next, a week after the launch of mobile-only shortform streaming service Quibi and at least one of those descriptors may be going away. That’s per Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, who recently explained that, since the service was planned to fill in the gaps between people’s commutes and other daily lives out and about in the world, the coronavirus pandemic changed how audiences were watching. That means that isolating fans may soon be able to stream Quibi shows on their TVs.

Speaking to CNBC, Whitman said that the company’s strategy was changing rapidly in response to the unprecedented situation.

“We thought about that upfront, but we really wanted to get that right for mobile. But now the current situation, we’re talking to the engineering team about...We had always planned to be able to cast to your TV, so we’re gonna see if we can accelerate that in the engineering roadmap,” Whitman said, “So we’ll eventually get there, but it was never part of the launch. If we’d known about COVID, maybe it would’ve been.”

Quibi launched on April 6 and has since added a handful of genre offerings like The Stranger.

Finally, the mind behind The Amityville Playhouse and Blood Bride and the Demons from Hell has another ridiculously-titled horror film heading stateside. This time around, director John R. Walker and writers Darrell Buxton and Steve Hardy are bringing oddball portmanteau Ouijageist to audiences...possibly because Ouija boards are trademarked. No matter the convoluted reasoning around that title, the film has a new trailer out today.

Finding a “Witchboard” buried in the garden, a single mom (Lois Wilkinson) decides to spice up her life with a little bit of the occult. Obviously, only positive things happen. Just kidding, everyone gets super haunted. 

Take a look:

A shovel-dragging demon is just one of the foes faced by Wilkinson and her fellow castmates, which include Lesley Scoble, Roger Shepherd, Gabriella Calderone, Nathan Head, and Kristofer Dayne. At least she’s got a priest on her side, who ominously warns that, hey, believing in the Devil comes with the territory.

Ouijageist, which is already out in Europe, goes straight to DVD and VOD on April 14.