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Beauty & The Beast debuts to monster $170 million in US

Beauty & The Beast

Story by Jack Foley

DISNEY’S Beauty & The Beast has enjoyed a record-breaking US opening with a monster $170 million.

The live-action update of the classic 1991 animated musical earned a further $180 million internationally, for a whopping global bow of $350 million.

In posting those figures, Beauty set a number of new records, including the biggest start ever for a PG title both in the US and overseas (beating last year’s Finding Dory, which hit $135 million).

It also passed the $166 million domestic debut of last year’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice to secure the top March opening of all time.

Overall, the film can now lay claim to the seventh biggest US opening for any film, and the biggest outside of summer save for fellow 2015 December blockbuster, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not accounting for inflation.

Somewhat incredibly, figures compiled by rival studios suggest the final figure for the US debut could be even higher, with some having worked out somewhere between $173 million-$174 million. But the confirmed final amount will be released on Monday.

Of the international markets, the film also proved huge in the UK where it earned $22.8 million — one of the top five openings ever.

And it also impressed in China with $44.8 million, already topping the entire runs of Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland.

A delighted Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis commented: “There were a combination of factors that made this a recipes for success. There was a nostalgia for the original and the Disney brand. And Emma Watson was perfectly cast as Belle. The visual effects were also their own character. And I love our date. We have five weeks of rolling spring break ahead of us.”

Beauty & The Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. The cast also includes Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

The tale follows Belle as she attempts to rescue her father from the castle of a terrifying beast, and instead becomes his captor. But she soon starts to fall for the Beast and the enchanted staff of his castle, who were all put under a spell by a witch.

The only film that dared to open against Beauty was James Gunn’s The Belko Experiment, which grossed $4.1 million for a seventh-place finish. Best known for writing and directing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn’s Belko Experiment is a low-budget horror thriller that follows a group of 80 Americans who are locked in their high-rise office in Bogota, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed in order to survive.

Back in the US top five, Kong: Skull Island and Logan occupied second and third spots. Kong fell 53% in its second weekend to $28.9 million for a US total of $110.1 million. It took in another $38.5 million internationally for a global haul of $259.2 million.

While in its third outing, Fox’s Logan neared the $200 million mark in the US, hitting $17.5 million for a total of $184 million. The final and third Wolverine movie has earned over $500 million worldwide.

Jordan Peele’s sleeper hit Get Out, the racially conscious horror film, placed fourth with $13.2 million in its fourth weekend for a US total of $133.1 million, while Lionsgate’s faith-based The Shack rounded out the top five with another $6.1 million for a US haul of $42.6 million.

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