The tale may be old as time, or at least 1991, but audiences gave a rose to Disney’s latest live-action remake of one of their animated classics, the star-studded ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which looks to have conjured up $174M in its opening weekend.  (It could actually rise to $178M once all the figures are finalized, but Disney is conservatively calling it at $170M.)  The film is definitely benefiting from the fact that many schools are on Spring Break, which could drive additional higher-than-average ticket sales in the coming week.

beautybeast0011‘Beauty and the Beast’ looks to be the highest March opening of all time and the highest pre-summer opening ever, taking down the superhero slugfest ‘Batman V Superman’‘s $166M last year.  Remarkably, it also marks Emma Watson’s best opening, besting her massive ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’debut of $169M.  In similar franchise besting news, it marks director Bill Condon’s best debut, ahead of ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which premiered to $141M.

If the numbers climb higher, it could also top ‘Iron Man 3’‘s $174.1M and possibly even ‘Captain America: Civil War’‘s $179.1M.  Of course, those are also Disney movies, so the House of Mouse is probably not sweating the shuffle.  And those were released during the summer movie season.

And although inflation certainly plays a part, the live action ‘B&B’ will surely take down the animated original, which made $218.98M during its entire theatrical run.

All this is with certain theaters in the south refusing to screen it because of the inclusion of ambiguously gay character LeFou played by Josh Gad.

Disney’s distribution chief Dave Hollis proudly declared:

“This goes beyond our wildest expectations and it’s so satisfying to see the audience response. On Twitter fans are saying that they cried multiple times. There’s a hopeful sense of repeat business for the rest of the pic’s run. Audiences responded to the film in ways you don’t often see.”

Indeed, fans have been taking to social media to “complain” about long lines and packed theaters.  (I’ll admit, I went to see it just because nothing else was playing that we could agree on and had to sit in that crappy set of seats right in front of the screen.)  The film has also scored on social media, with 590M posts and counting.

Those that put up with the crowds, seemed to like it, giving it a CinemaScore of “A,” on par with Disney’s other live-action hits like ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Cinderella’.  Critics haven’t been that kind, with the film ranking a decent-but-not-stellar 70%.  The main complaint seems to be that the live-action film is basically a straight remake of the animated film, while some find the film and its heavy CGI effects overwhelmingly garish.

Here are the official numbers:

  1. Beauty and the Beast (Disney) – $174M
  2. Kong: Skull Island (20th Century Fox/Legendary) – $28.9M
  3. Logan (20th Century Fox) – $17.55
  4. Get Out (Universal) – $13.2M
  5. The Shack (Lionsgate) – $6.1M

power-rangers-red-ranger-poster-dinosaur-389x600As you can see, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ beat the nearest competitor, ‘Kong: Skull Island’ by triple digits, but the monster movie is still doing reasonably well and has benefited from strong word-of-mouth.  The same is true of ‘Logan’ which fans are calling the best Wolverine movie and maybe even the best ‘X-Men’ movie of all time and low-budget thriller ‘Get Out’.  All three have also gotten heaps of praise from critics, ranking north of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.  #5, ‘The Shack’ has been savaged with a lousy 18%, but faith-based movies are basically critic-proof and fairly low-budget, even when it comes to marketing.  This one cost $20M to make and has already made $42.6M, so no one’s really sweating those poor reviews.

Next week… we’ll have to wait and see.  The biggest new film opening is ‘Saban’s Power Rangers’ but no one is really sure how it’s going to do or how fans will react to the grounded take on the campy classic show.  Also opening is sci-fi horror movie ‘Life’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds, but there hasn’t been much promotion for it, which… probably isn’t a great sign.  Ditto ‘CHiPs’, the Dax Sheppard-directed reboot of the classic TV series, especially compared to the upcoming ‘Baywatch’ which has been promoted to hell and back since before it even began filming.  Of the three, ‘Power Rangers’ will probably do best, but will it do well enough to dethrone ‘Beauty and the Beast’?  Check back next week to find out.

Source: Deadline