'Beauty and the Beast' roars to No. 1 with monstrous $170M in box office

The new Disney film Beauty and the Beast is beating box office records for the month of March. Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale that was written by the French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales). The tale is as old as time with different variations of the story, but the Beauty and the Beast‘s new box office record is showing that the story is still as popular as ever. Disney’s new live-action remake of the beloved 1991 animated classic story has risen to the top of the domestic chart this past weekend, amassing an astounding $170 million from 4,210 theaters. That is an average of about $40,380 per movie theater location to notch the highest debut for a March movie title in history. The $160 million Bill Condon production beats the $166 million total that was posted by previous record holder Batman vs. Superman, Dawn of Justice that was released last year.

The 2017 movie Beauty and the Beast is an American musical romantic fantasy film that was directed by Bill Condon. The film is a co-production between Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films, the film being a live-action and computer animated remake of Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name. The movie itself is an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's eighteenth-century fairy tale. The film features a cast that includes Emma Watson from Harry Potter fame and Dan Stevens as the titular characters along with Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellan, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Emma Thompson in the supporting roles. The story is set in Bourbon-era France, when a young woman, named Belle, is imprisoned in an enchanted castle by the fearsome Beast, who is a prince that has been cursed by a sorceress as penance for his callousness. Belle is also pursued by Gaston, who is a narcissistic hunter who wants her hand in marriage, which leads to a confrontation with the Beast. The 2017 film features the 1991 remake of the original song Beauty and the Beast recorded as a duet by Ariana Grande and John Legend. The Grande and Legend's updated version of the Beauty and the Beast title song is true to the original, Grammy-winning duet, which was performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson for the 1991 Disney classic. Actress Emma Thompson also performed a rendition of the song Beauty and the Beast, which was first performed by Angela Lansbury in the original 1991 animated film release.

There are several variants of the classic tale known across Europe. One example is in France, where Zémire and Azor is an operatic version of the story, written by Marmontel and composed by Grétry in 1771, and was very successful well into the 19th century. Then there is Amour pours amour written by Nivelle de la Chaussée, which is a 1742 play based on Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's version. According to researchers at the universities of Durham and Lisbon, the original story originated around 4,000 years ago.

Worldwide, the Beauty and the Beast movie brings in an excellent $180 million, which brings its global total to $350 million after just three days. The movie also surpasses the Jungle Book‘s IMAX record for a PG-rated film which brought in $21 million worldwide versus $20 million worldwide on just 1,026 formatted screens.

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