Weekend Box Office: ‘Beast’ Is a Box Office Beauty

2017’s March Movie Madness reached its peak this weekend thanks to the record-setting bow of Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. The arrival of The Beast and the continued success of Kong: Skull Island, Logan and Get Out helped the top ten not only soar 66% over last week’s figures, but also a whopping 114% over last year’s top ten as well.

Following months of aggressive Mouse House marketing, Beauty and the Beast – a remake of their 1991 animated classic- danced its way into 4,210 theaters Thursday to earn an astounding $170 million. Not only did the Disney event pic become the year’s biggest-grossing release in just three days, it also became the biggest March opening of all time. The family musical surpassed previous record holder Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’s March 2016 opening by just a few million dollars. It was also the biggest opening ever for a “PG” rated feature.

The day-to-day business breakdown for Beauty and the Beast was as follows: $63.7 million for Friday –of which $16 million was collected Thursday night-, $62.7 million for Saturday (-2% from Friday) while Sunday is estimated at $43.4 million (-31%). Prior to opening Thursday night, nearly 1,000 shows for the $160 million production nationwide were sold out.

Reviews for the Bill Condon remake were solid, but not quite as good as they were for recent Disney remakes Cinderella and The Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast scored a 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In comparison, Cinderella scored an 83% approval rating while The Jungle Book was bestowed with a 95% RT rating. Beauty and the Beast fared somewhat better with the opening weekend crowds. They gave the Emma Watson headliner an “A” rating on CinemaScore.

International crowds were also eager to welcome Belle’s return. The film opened day and date in 44 international markets, which helped contributed a huge $180 million to the $350 million global weekend total. China led the way with a $44.8 million opening, followed by the United Kingdom with $22.8 million. Given the film’s fast start and strong feedback from ticket buyers, Beauty and the Beast could become the Mouse House’s latest billion-dollar box office champ.

Live action versions of Mulan, Aladdin and The Lion King -what, no Pocahontas or Emperor’s New Groove?- are currently in the works.

Last weekend’s champ, Kong: Skull Island, may no longer be King of the Box Office Jungle but still had plenty of fight left in it. Warner’s monster epic earned $28.8 million from 3,846 theaters -a decrease of 53%-, which was good enough for second place. Skull Island has earned an estimated $110.1 million so far domestically and could finish with approximately $165 million in the bank. The big ape has also amassed $149 million in international sales.

Fox’s Logan continued to bear his claws in third place thanks to a $17.5 million weekend haul from 3,687 screens. Off 54%, the acclaimed action thrillers domestic total is currently at $184 million. The gross makes Logan the highest-grossing film of the three Wolverine spin off films. Logan is looking at a final stateside total around $220 million. Overseas, the R-rated feature has sliced and diced its way to a solid $297.2 million so far.

In fourth place was Universal/Blumhouse’s low-budget phenomenon Get Out with a winning $13.2 million from 2,979 screens. Off 36%, the horror hit has scared up a great $133 million after one month of release.

Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate’s religious flick The Shack with $6.1 million. Off only 39%, its three-week total stands at $42.6 million. A $55 million final gross for the $26 million production is possible.

  1. The LEGO Batman Movie (Warner) $4.7 million (-38%); $167.4 million

Opening as counterprogramming to the likes of dancing candlesticks and teapots was Blumhouse Tilt/Orion Pictures’ low budget horror feature The Belko Experiment. The $5 million production withstood the barrage of negative reviews to work its way to a seventh place finish, which was good for $4 million from 1,341 theaters.

  1. Hidden Figures (Fox) $1.5 million (-45%); $165.5 million
  1. John Wick: Chapter Two (Lionsgate) $1.2 million (-55%); $89.7 million
  1. Before I Fall (Open Road Films) $1 million (-65%); $11.2 million

Finally, in addition to being part of the Beauty and the Beast juggernaut, Ewan McGregor had a second film scoring big multiplex bucks this weekend: T2: Trainspotting. The sequel to the 1996 cult classic made its stateside debut in five theaters Friday to earn a bloody good $180,000. The film will expand nationwide over the next few weeks.

Next weekend sees the arrival of CHiPs, the sci-fi thriller Life and the reboot of Power Rangers. None will have the strength to overtake Beauty and The Beast in its second weekend, which could see a sophomore session between $70-90 million.

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