Disney's “Beauty and the Beast” has enchanted the box office, opening to an astonishing $170 million in North America and $350 million globally, and establishing a number of new box-office records in the process.
The $160 million tentpole stars British actress Emma Watson as Belle, while Dan Stevens plays the Beast. The cast also includes Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.
Directed by Bill Condon, the live-action update of the classic 1991 animated musical shattered numerous records in its debut, not accounting for inflation, marking yet another major victory for Disney.
The first of the records is top domestic opening of all time for a film rated PG. The previous record-holder in North America was Pixar/Disney's “Finding Dory”, which set sail to $135 million in summer 2016. “Beauty” also scored the top opening of all time for a PG film internationally, where it waltzed to $180 million, led by China ($44.8 million). Next up was the UK — Watson's home country — where the film earned $22.8 million, the fifth biggest for any film and the biggest for a PG title.
The film also narrowly beat out the final Harry Potter movie ($169.2 million) to rank seventh on the top 10 list of biggest bows in North America, a massive accomplishment. The film is also Watson's biggest opener to date. Several rival studios believe that when final weekend receipts are tallied, “Beauty” could even come in as high as $174 million, which would tie it with “Iron Man 3” for the sixth spot.
In an era where Hollywood executives ponder the lack of strong females behind and in front of the camera, “Beauty” once again underscores the buying power of women and girls. On Friday, more than 70 percent of ticket buyers were females, although that percentage evened out over the weekend to 60 percent, according to Disney. Either way, no movie fueled at this level by femmes of all ages has ever opened to such big numbers. In comparison, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” debuted to $158.1 million in November 2014, while “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” took in $142 million in November 2009 for a series-best mark for each.
No one could have imagined that “Beauty” would land the biggest North American debut in almost a year, when Marvel/Disney's “Captain America: Civil War” raked in $179.1 million on its first weekend in early May 2016. It also wasn't expected to best Lucasfilm/Disney's “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, which launched in December to $155 million, or take the crown for best March opening by topping “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, which bowed to $166 million over the March 25-27 weekend last year. “Beauty” also posted the biggest March opening ever in a number of foreign markets, including Mexico ($11.6 million), Germany ($10.7 million) and Spain ($5.8 million).
Disney has set a new record for itself. The film studio has already proven itself a beast when it comes to transforming beloved animated classics into live-action event films, beginning with “Alice in Wonderland” and followed by “Maleficent”, Cinderella and “The Jungle Book”, but “Beauty” sets a new bar. “Alice”, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, previously sported the biggest opening for this genre of films, debuting to $116.1 million over the March 3-5 weekend in 2010 on its way topping out at $1.025 billion globally. It remains to be seen just how much “Beauty and the Beast” ultimately takes in, but it appears destined to become part of the billion-dollar club.
Source: Hollywood Reporter