Print Edition - 2017-03-21  |  Life & Style

Beauty and the Beast smashes debut record

- Reuters, LOS ANGELES

Mar 21, 2017-

Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s latest live action update of a cartoon classic, waltzed its way to a towering $170 million debut this weekend, setting a new record for a March opening. No other company can match the streak that Disney is currently enjoying, thanks to a series of multi-billion acquisitions that put the likes of Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm in its Magic Kingdom.

Beauty and the Beast represents another part of Disney’s branded strategy. It’s the latest fairy tale adaptation to hit screens. Others in the lucrative group include Alice in Wonderland, which picked up $1 billion worldwide, Cinderella with its $543.5 million global haul, and last year’s The Jungle Book, which racked up a mighty $966.6 million after finishing its run. Remakes of Dumbo and Mulan are already in the works, as Disney commits to putting a live action spin on the bulk of its animated properties.

The latest fairy tale follows Belle, a bookish girl in France played by Harry Potter film veteran 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. 

Beauty and the Beast didn’t muck about with the elements that made the 1991 film so beloved. 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. All those elaborate musical numbers and chatty cutlery don’t come cheap. Beauty and the Beast carries a hefty $160 million budget. It should make that money back manyfold after ticket sales are tallied and new lines of princess wear are whipped up to satisfy new generations of Belle lovers.

Published: 21-03-2017 08:59

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