“It’s rare to see a family film opening like a superhero movie but this ‘Beauty’ is a beast in ticket sales, defying expectations and then some,” said the company’s managing editor, Erik Davis.
Sales are being driven by nostalgia for the original Disney animated classic, released in 1991, and the recent popularity of live-action fairy tales is translating into massive ticket sales.
“Beauty and the Beast” is expected to open to more than $120 million domestically this weekend. The film — the only new film opening wide — should add between $80 million and $110 million in international box office as Disney is launching in about 70% of markets.
Disney spent $160 million making the movie. The cast includes Emma Watson as Belle and “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens as her cursed love interest. The supporting players include Luke Evans as the villainous Gaston, Josh Gad as his sidekick LeFou, and Ewan McGregor as the talking candelabra Lumiere. The soundtrack revives the animated film’s classic score, reprising such favorites as “Be Our Guest” and “Belle,” as well as several new numbers.
Despite mixed reviews, “Beauty and the Beast” will be by far the biggest domestic launch of 2017, easily outpacing the $88 million opening for “Logan” two weeks ago.Other titles to have sold out more than 1,000 shows prior to their openings include “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight” and the Twilight franchise films.