Beauty and the Beast' breaks records with $170-million debut

Audra McDonald

Watson was a flawless Belle and shined in her role, and Stevens managed to make a computer generated image (CGI) Beast feel believable.

The phenomenal start for the film gives more fuel to Disney's DISN, -0.67% strategy of making live-action, visual effects-filled remakes of its animated classics.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a global box office sensation. "Mulan", "Mary Poppins", "Little Mermaid", "The Lion King" and many others are set to come to the big screen.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

Beauty and the Beast earned $16.3 million from Thursday night shows, an impressive number and while we all knew this one was going to be a massive opening, even the hype didn't indicate $150 million at a bare minimum on the weekend.

Watson was reportedly offered United States dollars three million upfront, but her profits will likely end up being considerably larger upon the film's total gross. Emma Watson nabbed the lead role in the highly anticipated Beauty and the Beast, and it has now been revealed just how much money she'll walk away with. "Beauty and the Beast" centers on Belle, an independent and lovely village girl, and the Beast, a prince who was cursed by an enchantress because he had no love in his heart. It'll be close; the previous record, held by Batman V Superman, stands at $166 million. It also became the highest-grossing Fri-Sun opening for a PG film in the UJ, as well as the biggest ever March opening weekend of all time and the biggest ever opening for a musical, beating Les Misérables.

The record haul is good news for Disney since the movie had a steep $160 million production budget.

Beauty & the Beast represents another movie in Disney's branded strategy to adapt old fairy-tales for a live-action remake.

Photo // In Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio's animated classic, Emma Watson stars as Belle and Kevin Kline is Maurice, Belle's father. Despite her fears, Belle befriends with the beast and learns to look to beyond his ugly exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.

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