There was never a question of whether Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” would have a massive opening weekend, it was only a matter of how massive. Now we know the answer: $174 million in North America, and a staggering $350 million worldwide.
That sets a new domestic record for a March opening, and places the film at No. 2 internationally and globally, behind last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Director Bill Condon’s remake of the 1991 classic is only Disney’s latest return to its animated vaults. However, Deadline reports “Beauty and the Beast” is outperforming the previous live-action releases around the globe: 35 percent ahead of “The Jungle Book,” 96 percent ahead of “Alice in Wonderland,” 100 percent ahead of “Maleficent” and 148 percent ahead of “Cinderella.”
With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why the studio is making plans for live-action versions of “The Lion King,” “Dumbo,” “Mulan” and others, including a film focusing on Cruella de Vil from “101 Dalmatians.”
Starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, “Beauty and the Beast” is No. 1 in virtually all of the 44 international markets where it opened this weekend, raking in $180 million. It earned $44.8 million in China, the largest-ever debut for a live-action Disney film (which doesn’t include Marvel Studios or Lucasfilm).
Legendary’s “Kong: Skull Island” slipped to No. 2 in North America, with $28.8 million in its second weekend, followed at No. 3 by Fox’s “Logan,” which raked in an additional $17.5 million.
“Beauty and the Beast” also stars Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.