Disney's live-action "Beauty" was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a new high mark for family movies."Beauty and the Beast," the studio's latest live action update of a cartoon classic, waltzed its way to a towering US$170 million debut this weekend, setting a new record for a March opening and solidifying the Mouse House's status as the dominant player in the film business. No other company can match the streak that Disney is currently enjoying, thanks to a series of multi-billion acquisitions that put the likes of Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm in its Magic Kingdom.
"Beauty and the Beast" blew past the previous record-holder for G- or PG-rated releases, according to studio estimates Sunday. Last year, Disney's "Finding Dory" debuted with a then-PG-best $135 million.
The latest fairy tale follows Belle, a bookish girl in France played by Harry Potter star Emma Watson, who helps a tortured Beast (Dan Stevens of "Downton Abbey" fame) break out of his shell. In the process she lifts a curse that's left the Beast's kingdom populated by talking household items. "Beauty and the Beast" didn't muck about with the elements that made the 1991 film so beloved. Director Bill Condon kept the original storyline intact, while putting more content on Belle's background, and retaining a soundtrack that includes "Be Our Guest" and "Belle."
With "Beauty and the Beast" dominating ticket sales, last weekend's champ, "Kong: Skull Island," fell 53per cent to US$28.8 million. That pushes the monster movie's domestic haul to US$110.1 million. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment teamed up to produce the remake of King Kong.
Fox's "Logan" took third place, pulling in US$17.5 million and bringing the R-rated superhero tale's stateside total to US$184 million.\