The live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is racking up record pre-sales, says Fandango. The ticketing service reports that it is on pace to best the totals set by two of last year’s hottest titles: “Captain America: Civil War” and “Finding Dory.” 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.
“Captain America” Civil War” opened on April 12, 2016 and took in just shy of $180 million in its first weekend, eventually grossing a staggering $408 million. “Finding Dory” debuted on June 17 and netted $135 million that first weekend; it ended its run with $486 million in the Disney coffers.
“Beauty and the Beast” is set to unspool on March 17. Even if it doesn’t reach the heights of “Captain America: Civil War,” it should outpace 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).
While the box office is sure to be boffo when the film comes out, the early reviews are less promising. The critics have weighed in with their thoughts and are all over the map as to the merits of this remake. To date, the movie scores 74 at Rotten Tomatoes and 64 at MetaCritic.