In 2016, Disney delivered hit after hit, whether it was one of their in-house productions or from one of their high-profile affiliates. This year, the studio is hoping to have a repeat of that unprecedented success, and it all begins with the premiere of the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake. The original animated version remains one of the Mouse House’s most beloved titles thanks to its heartfelt story and catchy musical numbers. That brand recognition, coupled with a mostly positive critical reception (read our review) seemed to be a recipe for a fruitful opening weekend.
Beauty and the Beast is actually poised to have one of the strongest debuts of all-time. Its pre-sale figures on Fandango were the most for any family film, and it brought in a whopping $16.3 million from Thursday night preview screenings. Now that it has one full day under its felt in theaters, it’s becoming increasingly likely the film will break a box office record or two.
According to Variety, Beauty and the Beast made $63.7 million domestically on Friday, March 17. Projections now have it pegged to make $170 million in its first three days, coinciding with earlier reports. That Friday figure is easily the highest single day gross of 2017, nearly doubling the $33 million posted by Logan on March 3. Should Disney’s latest keep this pace up, it will pass Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as the biggest March opening ever and Finding Dory as the largest PG opening weekend.
While Beauty and the Beast will be the clear winner at the box office, there’s still plenty of money to go around for the holdovers. Last week’s champ Kong: Skull Island earned $7.3 million on Friday and is set to bring in $25 million in its second weekend – a solid return considering its competition. Fox’s Logan should also have another healthy week, as it made $4.7 million. Though all three are positioned as big studio genre pictures, each one seemingly has its own target demographic (in large part due to their respective ratings), so all corners of the moviegoing public are well-served right now. There’s something playing for everyone, leading to excellent results across the board.
For Disney, this is likely just the start of what should be another banner year. Once again, they look ready to dominate the multiplex, since the next nine months will see the releases of three Marvel movies, two Pixar films, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. They know how to pick their projects well and have become a name many viewers trust in regards to high-quality entertainment. As evidenced by the commercial numbers, Disney is obviously doing a lot right.
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