Incredibly, Cruella has been in development for a decade, having first been announced in November 2011, years before Disney’s production line of live-action remakes became the consistent commercial behemoths that they are today. The project was initially greeted with skepticism, though, which was completely understandable when there looked to be no obvious reason for it to exist.
After all, Ms. de Vil arrived in 101 Dalmatians as a fully formed and instantly iconic character, and nobody who read Dodie Smith’s 1956 source novel or watched the 1961 animated or 1996 live-action version of the story was possessed by the burning desire to see her get an elaborate backstory by the time the credits rolled.
However, the first trailer generated plenty of interest when it debuted earlier this week, and it was viewed a massive 71 million times in the first 24 hours it was available online. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the 60 million streams drawn in by Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, which went on to earn over a billion dollars at the box office.
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That being said, the first promo for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil racked up 61 million views and would gross less than half as much as Ritchie’s movie in theaters, but with Cruella scheduled for May and the industry still in the doldrums, it’s hard to predict just how high Craig Gillespie’s lavish crime comedy can fly.
The entire premise hinges almost entirely on the strength of the lead performance, and on that front, Emma Stone looks set to deliver big time as the scenery chewing villain. Of course, there’s every chance that Cruella might end up being hit with another delay or even receive a hybrid Disney Plus Premier Access release, but based on the reactions to the footage, it’s poised to be a huge success however it reaches audiences.