March 23, 2017

'Beauty and the Beast' blasts through box office records with $350m debut

20 March 2017, 07:28 | Max Haynes

The special Ultragirl designs come in a mini version for kids too

The special Ultragirl designs come in a mini version for kids too

Additionally, following in the footsteps of Frozen, the hope is that the Beauty and the Beast's classic songs will help drive repeat business, the way tunes such as Let It Go did for the computer-animated musical in late 2013.

Abroad, Beauty made $180 million in 44 markets, bringing it to a $350 million total on weekend No. 1. It follows previous remakes such as Cinderella, Maleficent and last year's The Jungle Book.

If the $170 million estimate bears out - or is exceeded - then Disney will be the proud owner of a new all-time box office weekend record for March.

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What is surprising though is just how successful an opening it's turning out to be. It topped the previous March opening weekend record of $166 million set by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice a year ago and also the seventh largest opening weekend ever. Not only is that the biggest launch of all time for a PG-rated movie (beating the $135 million "Finding Dory" managed last year), but the largest spring opening ever.

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Oh, and with almost $175 million domestic and $357m worldwide in the can, it's already the third-biggest modern (post-1974) live-action musical ever in North America (behind Grease) and the fifth-biggest worldwide (behind Grease, La La Land, Les Miserables and Mama Mia!).

First off, the old tale is kept but told in a brand new and more imaginative way that only Disney can do. The horror film, which cost less than US$5 million to make, grossed US$4.1 million.

The film stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Beast, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Kevin Kline as Maurice, and Tony Award victor Audra McDonald as Garderobe.

Also, the Disney reboot gets on the top ten list of best openings encountered by a film. Malaysia refused to play the film because it included a gay character after Disney declined to edit four minutes from the picture. "But by the response to this movie in both word and action, the Christian boycotters are saying loud and clear that homosexuality is the greatest of all sins - greater even than witchcraft and the occult". It has opened a huge place in my heart and has made me hopeful for Disney movies.

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