‘Beauty and the Beast’ roars with monstrous $170M debut

'Beauty and the Beast' roars with monstrous $170M debut

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 G- or PG-rated releases, according to studio estimates Sunday. Last year, Disney’s “Finding Dory” debuted with a then-PG-best $135 million.

“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 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 and digital effects. The makeover of the 1991 Oscar-winning film follows previous live-action remakes such as “Alice in Wonderland,” ”Cinderella,” ”Maleficent” and last year’s “The Jungle Book.” Many more are on the way, too, including those for “Dumbo,” ”Mulan,” ”Aladdin” and “The Lion King.”

“Nostalgia is a very powerful driver for these films,” said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. “What’s exciting here is there is an opportunity to see these beloved stories in a way that’s never been seen before, but you get to build that on the foundation of something that’s very familiar.

“But you don’t get to $170 million because of nostalgia,” Hollis added. “You have to ultimately make these movies great.”

“Beauty and the Beast,” directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, found widespread 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 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 theatrecancelled showings before owners screened the film. And after Malaysian censors required an edit of the scene, Disney pulled the film from release in the predominantly Muslim nation. An appeal is to be heard this week.

None of that dragged down the movie’s massive opening. It took in $180 million overseas, including $44.8 million in China, Disney said.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said any backlash may have only helped “Beauty and the Beast,” which he predicts will eventually top $1 billion globally.

“As quote-unquote controversies go, this was a real tempest in a teapot,” Dergarabedian said. “This obviously had zero impact on the movie. In fact, those who raise awareness of a movie for whatever reason are generally only helping that movie do better business. I don’t think that was going to dissuade anyone except the most narrow-minded from seeing this film.”

“Beauty and the Beast,” featuring the songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, also got a boost from good word-of-mouth and largely good reviews.

Other studios stayed clear of the Disney juggernaut. Last week’s top film, Warner Bros.’ “Kong: Skull Island,” slid to second place with $28.9 million in its second week. The King Kong relaunch has thus far earned $110.1 million domestically.

Fox’s R-rated “X-Men” spinoff “Logan,” starring Hugh Jackman, added $17.5 million in its third week to bring its total to $184 million. With “Logan” in third place, the horror sensation “Get Out” slid to fourth and continued to drive audiences. The Jordan Peele directorial debut, from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse, earned $13.3 million, making its four-week total $133.1 million.

The only film that tried to open nationwide against “Beauty and the Beast” was the micro-budget horror release “The Belko Experiment,” from Blumhouse Pictures. It earned $4.1 million in 1,341 theatres (or about a third the theatres “Beauty” played in).

Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting” sequel, “T2: Trainspotting,” from Sony Pictures debuted in five theatres in New York and Los Angeles, earning $180,000 for a strong per-theatre average of $36,000. The sequel to the much-loved 1996 original, which later expands nationwide, has already made more than $20 million in the U.K.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Beauty and the Beast,” $170 million ($180 million international).

2. “Kong: Skull Island,” $28.9 million.

3. “Logan,” $17.5 million.

4. “Get Out,” $13.3 million.

5. “The Shack,” $6.1 million.

6. “The Lego Batman Movie,” $4.7 million.

7. “The Belko Experiment,” $4.1 million.

8. “Hidden Figures,” $1.5 million.

9. “John Wick: Chapter Two,” $1.2 million.

10. “Before I Fall,” $1 million.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP .

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social justice advocate yells at Kelowna council, demands presence at Black Lives Matter rally

Heather Friesen has again taken to council chambers to make her opinion heard

RDCO closes section of Mission Creek due to high water levels

RDCO urges visitors to respect closure signs posted at these locations until waters recede

Surrey man accused of murdering his partner in West Kelowna back in court

Tejwant Danjou took his first steps back into Kelowna Law Courts on Monday

Easter Seals shifts to virtual camps due to COVID-19 restrictions

The Lake Country summer camp is for children and adults with disabilities

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

High water levels on Shuswap Lake may close popular Canoe Beach

Rain forecast could flood entrance tunnel, city staff to evaluate

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

Summerland man rescued following ATV accident

Helicopters used to transport injured man to Kelowna for treatment

Vernon videographer captures thunderstorm

See the ‘best bits’ of Saturday’s storm

Dyer: I left my heart in the desert

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

Horoscopes for the week of June 1

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Most Read