The last weekend of winter looked more like a summer weekend with Disney’s live action remake of its animated classic Beauty and the Beast arriving at the top spot with blockbuster status, setting a record for a March opening in the process with $174.7 million, also the sixth largest opening of all-time, just inching past Iron Man 3‘s $174.1 million.
Other records set by Beauty and the Beast:
- The largest opening for a PG-rated film, topping Finding Dory‘s $135 million
- Fourth largest Saturday gross of all time
- Sixth largest Sunday gross
- Eighth largest per screen average for a wide release, $41,508
- Largest global and domestic opening for a PG-rated film in IMAX with $21 million
- Fourteenth largest global opening with $357 million, hitting Number 1 in 53 of the 56 markets
- Highest grossing PG-rated opening in the UK with $22.8 million
Domestically, the film has already surpassed its $160 million budget. In China, the opening gross has surpassed the total grosses for Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland. The film has yet to open in France, Australia and Japan.
Even with Beauty and the Beast demolishing records, there was another film that made it into the Top Ten, the indie horror flick The Belko Experiment which debuted at Number 7 with $4.1 million against a $5 million budget.
Beauty and the Beast had an effect on the last two films to open big, Logan and Kong: Skull Island, both dropping a bit more than 50%. Kong moved down one spot to Number 2 with $27.8 million (-54%) and Logan went to Number 3 with $17.8 million (-53%). Not taking quite as big of a hit, Get Out went to Number 4 with $13.4 million (-35%). Even with the downturn, these films combined with Beauty and the Beast gave this a $249.5 million weekend, the highest since December 2015 when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened. That film also saw a 140% increase this weekend, earning another $503,000, moving up eleven spaces to Number 14 with a domestic total of $530.7 million.
New films opening in limited release also turned in some good numbers. T2: Trainspotting arrived on five screens with $170,575, good for Number 29 and a per screen average of $34,115. Song to Song debuted on four screens with $50,559, good for Number 37 and a $12,640 per screen average. La La Land took a 70% hit, dropping out of the Top Ten with $531,568, hitting Number 12.
Beauty and the Beast faces some formidable competition in the coming week with CHiPS, Life and Power Rangers all opening wide. Power Rangers is certainly the most anticipated, for good or bad, but the excellent audience scores for Beauty and the Beast my bring in new and repeat viewers to help keep it at Number 1 for a second week. The question is, how much will it see drop off? Stay tuned!
Below are the Top Ten grosses for the weekend of March 17.
5.  The Shack – $6,005,739 [$42,490,369]
7. [N] The Belko Experiment – $4,137,230 [NEW]
10.  Before I Fall – $985,631 [$11,246,308]
[#] Last week’s position. [N] New in theaters. ★ HOTCHKA review | Source: Box Office Mojo