Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s latest live action adaptation of a cartoon classic, earned US$170 million during its debut this weekend, setting a new record for a March opening.
The movie is part of the company’s successful strategy of reinterpreting branded fairy tales for the screen.
It follows Alice in Wonderland, which grossed US$1 billion worldwide, Cinderella with US$543.5 million, and last year’s The Jungle Book, which racked up US$966.6 million, Variety.com reports.
The latest production is about Belle, a bookish girl in France played by Harry Potter star Emma Watson, who helps a tortured Beast (Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame) break out of his shell.
In the process she lifts a curse that’s left the Beast’s kingdom populated by talking household items.
Director Bill Condon kept the basic plot intact, while fleshing out a bit more of Belle’s backstory, and retaining a soundtrack that includes Be Our Guest and Belle, the report said.
The movie had a hefty budget of US$160 million.
With Beauty and the Beast dominating ticket sales, the previous weekend’s champ, Kong: Skull Island, fell 53 percent to US$28.8 million, pushing its domestic haul to US$110.1 million.
The King Kong remake was jointly produced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment.
Fox’s superhero offering Logan took third place, pulling in US$17.5 million and bringing its nationwide total to US$184 million.
Universal and Blumhouse’s Get Out, a thriller about a black man whose girlfriend’s white family holds a sinister secret, grabbed fourth position.
It made US$13.2 million, bringing its gross to US$133.1 million.
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