Like most of its endeavors over the years, Walt Disney Studios has found some notable financial and critical success as of late adapting some of their most iconic animated films into live-action “reimaginings.” With titles like The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon, Cinderella, and more, the studio has managed to carve out almost another franchise for itself with this trend, and it’s one that doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon either. But even despite the critical acclaim that more recent adaptations have found, none have had quite the same pre-release hype going for them that this year’s version of Beauty and the Beast had.
Released in theaters stateside today, Beauty and the Beast was already shattering records before tickets even began going on sale, with its trailers scoring some of the highest and fastest viewership numbers in history. When it even managed to beat the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was clear that Disney had the makings of a historic success on their hands with this new take on the tale as old as time.
It’s been in theaters for less than 24 hours too, and Beauty and the Beast is already surpassing most everyone’s expectations for its success. With multiple early Thursday night preview showings, the new live-action adaptation from director Bill Condon has reportedly already grossed $16.3 million at the U.S. box office. Not only is this the biggest preview box office gross of the year so far (a title previously held by Logan‘s $9.5 million Thursday night total), but it’s also the biggest ever for a Disney live-action title, the second biggest ever for a PG-rated film, and the third biggest ever for a March release.
Compared to some of the studio’s previous, recent live-action adaptations, this puts Beauty and the Beast firmly on top, in terms of just Thursday night preview numbers. The $16.3 million opening gross utterly dwarfs the $2.3 million that Cinderella made back in 2015, which similarly opened with a mid-March release date, and is almost triple the $4.2 million that both Maleficent and The Jungle Book raked in with their preview night totals.
Opening in 4,210 theaters in the U.S. and Canada today, Disney is expecting it to rake in a whopping $120 million in its opening weekend, a prediction that doesn’t seem outlandish considering how well it’s already performing. It’s important to note that this doesn’t even count what it’ll make overseas at the international box office either, and none of this is surprising. Early reports have stated that the film’s pre-sale ticket numbers alone have Beauty and the Beast shaping up to be the number one family film of all time. Not bad for a simple, live-action version of one of the most beloved and critically-acclaimed musicals of all time.
Source: Disney [via TheWrap]