After dominating the marketplace with a slew of blockbuster smashes in 2016, Disney's 2017 got off to a rousing start with the premiere of their live-action Beauty and the Beast remake. Capitalizing on the widespread popularity of the original animated classic and a generally positive reception from viewers and critics, the film brought in a staggering $174.7 million in its first three days domestically, easily setting a new record for the biggest March opening of all-time. Beauty is actually well on its way to punching its ticket to the $1 billion club, as it's amassed $541.1 million globally since it debuted on March 17.
Disney's latest demonstrated so much box office prowess, even the anticipated return of Saban's Power Rangers didn't seem like enough to stop its reign at the top of the charts. While Power Rangers has a built-in fan base that spans generations, its profile was not seen as high enough to dethrone Beauty from the #1 position. Now that the two movies have been going head-to-head for a day, it appears that matchup is going to be quite lopsided when the final numbers are tallied.
According to Variety, Beauty and the Beast easily won the Friday box office by earning $23.5 million. It is currently on pace to gross $90 million for the weekend, which would put its Stateside total north of $300 million. Beauty is well ahead of the commercial performance of last year's The Jungle Book, which ended its U.S. run with $364 million. The next major studio tentpole on deck is The Fate of the Furious, which does not come out until April 14, so Beauty and the Beast still has a few more weeks ahead with limited competition.
Though it proved to be no rival for Beauty, Power Rangers still ended up doing quite well for itself. In its first day, the reboot brought in $15 million and should have a haul of more than $40 million for the weekend. That's a decent start for the $100 million production and good news for distributor Lionsgate. It recently came out that the studio has a six-film series planned for the mighty morphin' heroes, so they needed the first one to be a decent-sized hit. While the mixed response probably limited its overall appeal (read our review) Power Rangers remains recognizable enough to draw in sizable crowds and should be successful. The projected $40 million total is ahead of the estimates, which is a positive sign.
The other new releases, R-rated CHIPS and Life, didn't fare as well as the other family-friendly offerings. The latter looks to still be in the top five for the weekend, though, as its set for a $13 million debut after grossing $4.3 million in its first day. On the other hand, CHIPS will have to settle for a softer landing, since its $2.6 million Friday indicates a three-day total of about $7 million. One thing to keep in mind in both these cases is that CHIPS and Life were both moderately-budgeted, so there wasn't an inordinate amount of pressure on them to gross high figures.
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