Most analysts were predicting that Disney's live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast would have no trouble winning at the box office, with a projected opening weekend of $120 million. Today, we have word that the movie pulled in an impressive $16.3 million in Thursday sneak preview screenings, with analysts now predicting that it could earn upwards of $155 million for its three-day opening weekend. While the Thursday preview gross isn't a record-breaking figure, it does indicate that this live action adaptation will have a huge opening weekend.
Deadline reports that the $16.3 million tally is the biggest so far this year, while also being the biggest Thursday gross for a live-action Disney film, easily trouncing Maleficent and The Jungle Book, which both earned $4.2 million. This Thursday gross is also the third highest ever in the month of March, behind 2012's The Hunger Games ($19.7 million) and last year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($27.7 million). The live action fairy tale adaptation could score an even bigger opening weekend, if audiences keep raving about the movie.
Screen Engine/ComScore's PostTrak reveals that moviegoers gave this movie an 88% positive rating after these Thursday screenings, with an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5. More than 60% of the audience was female, with a whopping 91% positive score coming from the female audience, 53% of which was under the age of 25. 70% of the audience said they would recommend the movie, which stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast, to their friends. If the movie does match the $155 million projection, it will rank as the second-highest March debut, just behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million) and just ahead of The Hunger Games ($152.5 million).
The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney's live-action adaptation Beauty and the Beast, the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. Beauty and the Beast opens in a whopping 4,210 theaters today, going up against Blumhouse Tilt's The Belko Experiment, which only arrives in 1,341 theaters.
The film stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. Directed by Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast, the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos and produced by Mandeville Films' David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a. with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers. Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film, provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. Be sure to check back on Sunday to see how Beauty and the Beast fared at the box office this weekend.