The live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” smashed box office records in its opening weekend. It did socko business in both the US, where it raked in $170 million at 4,210 locations, and abroad in 44 markets, adding another $180 million to its takings. It could well reach the $1 billion mark.
“Beauty and the Beast” easily outpaced the current March open record-holder, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which grossed $166 million on the same weekend last year. Other strong March openers were “The Hunger Games” ($152 million in 2012) and “Alice in Wonderland” ($116 million in 2010).
Oscar-winner Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters”) helms this retelling of the 1991 original that was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the title roles. While the box office is sure to be boffo, the reviews are less sensational. The critics have weighed in with their thoughts and are all over the map as to the merits of this remake. The movie scores 74 at Rotten Tomatoes and 64 at MetaCritic.