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Beauty and the Beast is going to be a big movie. This is not in dispute. It's a Disney fairy tale musical. You expect them to do well. What is surprising is just how big a movie it might actually be. While Beauty and The Beast doesn't open for three more weeks, the film is already on the tracking board, and early estimates are that the film could make as much as $120 million in North America alone during its opening weekend.
To put this in perspective, $120 million would be more than double the best weekend any film has had so far this year. The LEGO Batman Movie opened with just over $53 million earlier this month. In addition, the total would exceed Disney's best March opening ever, currently held by Alice in Wonderland which did $116 million on its way to doing over $1 billion globally. According to The Hollywood Reporter, only The Hunger Games and last year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have done better in March. There are a pair of other major March releases that will precede Beauty and the Beast, Logan and Kong: Skull Island, so the box office competition may be much fiercer by the time Beauty actually hits screens.
It's also leaps and bounds better than the original animated feature did at the box office. Even adjusted for inflation, since it's 1991 release, Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast did less than $20 million during its wide release opening weekend. That was only good enough for third place. The film never actually hit number one, though it eventually became one of the highest-grossing films ever that never did so.
A $120 million opening weekend puts Beauty and the Beast in the same company as some of the biggest movies released in the last few years. It's up there with comic book superhero movies and summer blockbusters.
While at first glance it might be a little surprising to see Beauty and the Beast looking to be quite this big, the fact is Disney's live-action remakes have been heading in this direction. The Jungle Book did over $100 million during its opening weekend and that film didn't have nearly the fan base that Beauty has. The Jungle Book was originally made in the late 1960s when Disney animation was on the verge of a slump. Beauty and the Beast is much younger, meaning that much of the movie going public remembers when it was released, and it came out during the studio's animation renaissance. If a lesser property like Jungle Book can do as well as it did, Beauty the Beast is destined to be huge.
Will you be at the theater opening weekend to see the "tale as old as time?" Let us know in the comments below.