Last month, box office analysts were predicting that Disney's long-awaited live-action remake of Beauty and the BEast will take in $120 million at the box office, a debut that most studios would be happy with for any film. As we got closer and closer to the release, the projections started to increase, with some predicting it could earn upwards of $150 million, which would still put it just short of the all-time highest March opening, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice's $166.1 million tally last year. It seems Beauty and the Beast has outdone itself, besting all projections for a record-breaking $170 million box office estimate.
Disney itself was downplaying those projections, with their own internal estimates placing their debut at $100 million. Box Office Mojo reports that Beauty and the Beast debuted in 4,210 theaters, earning an impressive $40,380 per-screen average. While this 4,210-theater rollout is certainly large, it ranks as the 29th widest of all time, not even coming close to the all-time record for widest release, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's 4,468-theater debut, a record which has stood for the past seven years. While that record will remain unscathed, it broke records for the largest debut for a PG-rated film, besting Disney's Finding Dory ($135 million) and delivered the biggest IMAX debut for a PG film with $21 million on 1,026 IMAX screens in 56 markets worldwide.
Earlier this week, both Beauty and the Beast and the other new release, Blumouse Tilt's The Belko Experiment, which opened in seventh place with $4 million, were critical hits, with Beauty and the Beast scoring a 69% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 53 Fresh reviews and 24 Rotten reviews, and The Belko Experiment just barely on the Fresh side with 60%, although only out of 10 reviews, with six positive and four negative. Today, Beauty and the Beast increased slightly, bumping up to 70%, while The Belko Experiment floundered, slipping to a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The workplace thriller was a hit with festival audiences when it debuted during the Toronto Film Festival's Midnight Madness section, it seems that mainstream critics didn't quite enjoy this film as much as those on the festival circuit. The top 5 is rounded out by Kong: Skull Island in a distant second place with $28.8 million, followed by Logan in third with $17.5 million, Get Out in fourth with $13.2 million and The Shack in fifth with $6.1 million.
The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast, a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. Beauty and the Beast is 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. The film stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle's father, Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston's long-suffering aide-de-camp, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra, Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord, Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster, Hattie Morahan as the enchantress and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup. The cast is rounded out by Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
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.
Written by the acclaimed writer/director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither) and directed by Greg McLean (creator of the Wolf Creek franchise), The Belko Experiment is a terrifying, provocative and at times hilarious thrill-ride that literally provokes the question; what does it take to survive at work? From Orion Pictures, The Belko Experiment stars John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom, 10 Cloverfield Lane), Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), John C. McGinley (Stan Against Evil, Scrubs), Adria Arjona (True Detective), Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) and Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy). The film was directed by Greg McLean and executive produced by James Gunn and Peter Safran (The Conjuring 1&2, Annabelle). The Belko Experiment cast also includes Melonie Diaz, David Dastmalchian, Gail Bean, Valentine Miele, Owain Yeoman, Steve Agee and Sean Gunn, the brother of writer-producer James Gunn.
The top 10 is rounded out by The LEGO Batman Movie ($4.7 million), The Belko Experiment ($4 million), Hidden Figures $1.5 million), John Wick: Chapter 2 ($1.2 million) and Before I Fall ($1 million). Also opening in limited release is the long-awaited sequel T2: Trainspotting, which will have expansions on March 24 and March 31 respectively. The sequel earned an impressive $180,000 from just five theaters for a whopping $36,000 per-screen average. Broad Green Pictures' Song to Song, the latest from from celebrated director Terrence Malick, earned $53,945 from four theaters for a $13,486 per-screen average. No box office data was given for Well Go USA's thriller Bluebeard and Freestyle Releasing's Burn Your Maps.
Looking ahead to next week, four new movies will arrive in wide release, with Lionsgate's Power Rangers reboot, Warner Bros.' theatrical remake of the hit TV series CHiPs, Sony's sci-fi thriller Life and River Rain's sports drama Slamma Jamma all hitting theaters. Also opening in limited release is Fox Searchlight's Wilson, Submarine Deluxe's documentary I Call Him Morgan, Monterey Media Inc's drama The Leveling and FIP's romantic comedy Phillauri. Take a look at the top 10 for the weekend of March 17, and check back on Tuesday for our next wave of box office predictions.