Disney’s live-action remake of its 1991 animated film musical Beauty and the Beast, which opened in cinemas across the U.S. March 17, took in $170 million at the box office domestically, making it the highest-grossing film of the weekend and the highest-grossing March weekend release in history, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
The new film now holds the record for the top domestic opening for a PG-rated motion picture, besting Pixar/Disney's Finding Dory, which earned $135 million domestically in its first weekend in summer 2016. Beauty also edged out the final Harry Potter movie to become the seventh largest bow ever in North America.
Featuring a score by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman with additional lyrics by Tim Rice, this new incarnation of Beauty and the Beast—directed by Bill Condon—also raked in $180 million internationally for an estimated $350 million opening globally.
Other top earners for the March 17-19 weekend included Kong: Skull Island ($28,850,000), Logan ($17,500,000), Get Out ($13,249,475), and The Shack ($6,130,000).
Beauty and the Beast is given a more modern approach this time around, providing more backstory for its central characters and drawing a stronger connection between Belle and the Beast. In addition, the character of LeFou (Gaston’s devoted sidekick) is given a subtle gay subplot—a first for Disney.
Fans of the 1991 animated version—and the 1994 Broadway stage adaptation—will notice numerous music and lyric changes for the film. None of the songs from the Broadway production made it into the live-action remake; however, several new songs have been added, including an aria for Audra McDonald during the opening sequence, as well as “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” “Days in the Sun,” and “Evermore.”
Emma Watson stars as Belle, opposite Dan Stevens as the Beast. The cast also features Luke Evans as Gaston; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as Le Fou; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Audra McDonald as Madame De Garderobe, the wardrobe; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
9 New Photos of Dan Stevens and Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast