“Beauty and the Beast,” released last week by Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), broke several ticket sales records as it opened with sales of $170 million. No other movie has posted numbers this large in March. It was also the seventh largest weekend box office number of all time. The movie opened in 4,210 theaters.
The basic story has been used dozens of times to produce books, plays and movies. It was originally published in 1740, written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve under the title of “La Belle et la Bête.” Disney released it as an animated feature in 1991. The story is about a beautiful young girl who falls in love with a beast who has captured her father. She is required to give the beast a rose he has picked in exchange for riches given by the beast to her father.
The latest version of the story stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Watson.
The $170 million open allowed “Beauty and the Beast” to top a number of the most successful movies in recent American history. According to Box Office Mojo:
With an estimated $170 million, Beauty and the Beast topped the previous March opening weekend record of $166 million set by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice just last year. It’s also the seventh largest opening weekend ever, ahead of the $169.1 million opening for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and just behind Iron Man 3’s $174.1 million opening from May of 2013. It’s also the largest opening for a PG-rated film, topping Finding Dory’s previous record of $135 million, as well as the largest Spring opening weekend, fourth largest Saturday gross of all-time, sixth largest Sunday gross and eighth largest theater average for a wide opening release.
“Beauty and the Beast” posted such a large figure that it should overtake X-Men sequel “Logan” to become the top box office film of 2017, probably in the next week.
“Beauty and the Beast” received strong reviews from critics, and even better ones from people who saw the movies. According to review site Rotten Tomatoes, 70% of those who reviewed the movie gave it positive rating. Over 86% of ticket buyers “liked it.”
“Beauty and the Beast” was also a smash hit overseas, with $180 million in sales in 44 countries. That brought its global total for the weekend to $350 million.