There’s no question that tickets have been in high demand for Walt Disney Studio’s live-action adaptation of its classic animated tales since 2010, when Tim Burton’s update of Alice in Wonderland had a stellar $116 million opening weekend at the domestic box office and eventual haul of $334 million. After the healthy three-day receipts of Maleficent ($69.4 million) in 2014 and Cinderella ($67.8 million) in 2015, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book became the next Disney live-action adaptation to eclipse the $100 million mark in ticket sales in its opening weekend in 2016, taking in more than $103 million on its way to a final domestic tally of $364 million.
But less than a year after the release of The Jungle Book, another talking beast not only appears poised to roar past the Disney live-action benchmarks set by its predecessors, it’s already shattering records days before it even opens in theaters. On Tuesday, online ticket seller Fandango (via THR) announced that Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast has become the No. 1 family film of all-time in ticket presales, topping the record presales set by Disney-Pixar’s Finding Dory in 2016.
Whether Fandango’s record-setting presales for Beauty and the Beast translates to a record opening for a PG family movie is yet to be seen. While director Bill Condon’s remake of the Best Picture Oscar-nominee from 1991 has sold more tickets in advance than Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo grossed more than $135 million in its first three days. THR says analysts are predicting an opening for Beauty in the Beast “well north” of $120 million, with some analysts projecting a weekend debut of more than $140 million.
The lukewarm praise of Beauty and the Beast from critics doesn’t appear to be deterring fans from buying tickets in advance. As of Tuesday, the aggregate critic score of the film on Rotten Tomatoes came in at 67 percent based on 82 reviews (read Screen Rant’s review of Beauty and the Beast here). That score, of course, could change with more reviews being reported in the coming days.
Either way, the opening box office gross of the film, starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and and all-star supporting cast, won’t prevent Disney from reimagining more of its animated classics in the live-action realm. At least two more are in the works: Burton is set to begin filming his vision of Dumbo in the spring with Eva Green and Danny DeVito in key roles, while the cast of Mulan is still coming together.
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