‘ Beauty and the Beast’ roars to No. 1
Families were very friendly to live- action remake
NEW YORK Disney’s live- action Beauty was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $ 170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a new high mark for family movies.
Beauty and the Beast blew past the previous record- holder for Gor PG- rated releases, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Beauty and the Beast felled many other records, too. It’s the year’s top opening so far and a new best for March releases, and it ranks seventh for all time, not accounting for inflation.
The film, made for about $ 160 million, is the latest effort by Disney to re- create one of its animated classics with live action. The makeover of the 1991 Oscarwinning film follows previous live- action remakes such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Maleficent and The Jungle Book. Many more are on the way, too, including Dumbo, Mulan, Aladdin and The Lion King.
“Nostalgia is a very powerful driver for these films,” says Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution.
Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, found acclaim and some backlash for including what has been called Disney’s first openly gay character. Josh Gad plays Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou, who has a very brief “exclusively gay moment,” as director Bill Condon described it, late in the film.
Though many applauded the character’s subtle twist as overdue progress, some derided it. An Alabama drive- in theater canceled showings. And after Malaysian censors required the scene be edited, Disney pulled the film from release there.
None of that dragged down the movie’s massive opening. It took in $ 180 million overseas.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, says any backlash may have only helped Beauty and the Beast, which he predicts will eventually top $ 1 billion globally.
“This was a real tempest in a teapot,” Dergarabedian says.”
Last week’s top film, Kong: Skull Island, slid to second place with $ 28.9 million.
The R- rated X- Men spinoff Logan, starring Hugh Jackman, added $ 17.5 million for third place. Jordan Peele’s horror flick Get Out slid to fourth with $ 13.3 million. Faith- based film The Shack finished fifth with $ 6.1 million.
Final figures are expected Monday.
Box office magic to the tune of $ 170 million was in the air for Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Beauty and the Beast.