As expected, Beauty and the Beast broke box office records this month as it surpassed last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for the biggest opening of any March theatrical release.
The highly-anticipated remake racked $170 million in North American theatres on its opening weekend. Entertainment Weekly reports that this figure is collected from 4,210 theaters in said territory, making an average of about $40,380 per location. Beauty and the Beast beats the previous record of $160 million for a March opening, made by Zack Snyder’s superhero movie of the previous year.
As for the international stage, Disney’s remake still rakes in impressive numbers. It opened to $180 million worldwide, making its total revenues add up to $350 million in a matter of three days.
Speaking records, it also broke that of The Jungle Book, which previously held the IMAX record for highest-grossing PG title. It was by a close margin, with Beauty’s$21 million beating the previous record by a million dollars.
According to analysts, Beauty and the Beast will most likely see over $1 billion in worldwide revenue by the end of its run. Not bad for a film that took $300 million to make.
Greg Foster, chief executive of IMAX’s filmed entertainment, shared his thoughts on why the remake of the Disney classic is such a hit. He said that the film combines two very strong elements: nostalgia, and Emma Watson’s “generational appeal.” In addition, he has this to say.
“The world is a pretty cynical place right now, and Beauty and the Beast gave audiences an opportunity to go back to a time of innocence.”
It seems that Disney made the right call in casting Emma, as well, what with her being one of the most influential young people today.
Certainly impressive performance overall, and what’s more, Disney is reported to make more live-action remakes in the future. It was kick-started by 2015’s Cinderella — or perhaps 2014’s Maleficent, if retellings from a different point-of-view count — and Beauty and the Beast is latest in line. Plans on recreating a live-action Mulan, The Lion King, Dumbo, and The Little Mermaid are reportedly underway.
It’s no wonder Disney characters are still alive in the minds and never leave pop culture — it seems Disney is an expert at finding ways for people to relive the good old days while still making the experience something that is completely brand new. These remakes of classic fairy tales are familiar, fresh, and exciting.
Director Bill Condon got good reviews for the film, as per New York Times. It was said that he didn’t simply remake the movie and added a few modern twists to it; he emphasized certain themes so that the appeal will go beyond a family-oriented theme. Everyone who saw the original knows that one of the main motivators in the movie was Belle’s determination to save her father. It depicted the classic theme of love for family.
With the remake, Condon “amplified” certain parts of the narrative as well, to make the other lessons from Beauty and the Beast rise to the surface. The most notable of this is the adage of looking past someone’s physical appearances. Acceptance of the Beast is central for the movie to work, but it can also be seen that, despite being “normal-looking,” Belle herself is shunned by villagers at first because she had different world views, beliefs, and hobbies.
Condon’s decision to make the sidekick character LeFou gay also sparked uproar, this being one of the bolder steps in the classic’s recreation. However, this did not deter Beauty and the Beast from still performing well in the box office.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]