Beauty and the Beast smashes the box office in opening weekend

Howard Ashman

Howard Ashman

"'Beauty and the Beast' is the latest example of Disney's perfectly executed strategy of going to their animation vaults, dusting off a classic and reinventing it as a modern live-action movie", said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.

"Beauty And The Beast" was an absolute beast at the USA box office this weekend, earning #1 with a record-setting gross.

"It is a strategy we believe in", Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Disney said in a telephone interview. The remake also nabbed several other less notable distinctions, including the highest opening for a Disney animated to mostly-live-action conversion and seventh highest domestic opening weekend ever (just passing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and its $169 million debut in 2011).

The 1991 Oscar-winning remake opened with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales, which also sets the record for the year's top opening. They delivered box-office records and historically high profits for the company past year.

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"Beauty and the Beast".

"Beauty and the Beast", which stars Emma Watson in the Belle role and Dan Stevens as the Beast, had the year's biggest Thursday preview of the year with $16.3 million, which added to its $64.1 million Friday earning. The film scored a 71 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com, which compiles critics' ratings.

The blockbuster, starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel Jackson, cost $25 million more to make than Beauty at $185 million.

After being overshadowed by a gay controversy during the past few weeks, the movie has easily exceeded box office predictions.

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