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Weekend Box Office: Beauty is a Beast in Record-Setting Fashion

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By Chris Kavan - 03/19/17 at 07:27 PM CT

There was no doubt about Beauty and the Beast taking the top spot at the box office, the only question was how big was is going to open? It turns out, even bigger than most had expected - in fact, the top 12 took in $249.5 million, the biggest weekend since The Force Awakens opened back in 2015. It wasn't just good enough to break March records, it broke several. But Beauty and the Beast wasn't the only surprise as Kong, Logan and Get Out still held on remarkably well in the face of competition. With big movies on the way, it will be interesting to see how these movies continue to battle it out.

1) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

The tale may be old as time, but Disney keeps finding new ways to make it refreshing. Their animated version is a classic, and their live-action version looks like it will follow suit. With a $170 million opening, Beauty and the Beast broke all kinds of records: the biggest March opening, the best opening for PG rated film, the best IMAX opening (domestic and global) for a PG-rated film, the biggest opening yet for Emma Watson (Just topping the $169 million opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2), the best Spring opening on record and is already the second-highest grossing musical of all time (and it will need less than a week to pass Grease at $188 million). It delivered the second best non-summer opening (behind just The Force Awakens), and the seventh-best domestic opening of all time (Disney now has six of the top seven movies in that category). Whew - that's a lot of records to keep track of, but the film is an unmitigated success and should have no problem topping $400 million and could even hit $450 if it can manage to stand up against upcoming blockbusters. It's $350 million foreign total (14th all time) with $21 million coming form IMAX alone, means Beauty and the Beast is also looking at $1 billion globally in the long run. The film might not have been the biggest hit with critics (lukewarm across the board, really) but audiences gave it an "A". Females make up 72% of that audience with 45% coming in under 25. The film packed a punch for a wide range of fans - families, those who liked the original animated film, musical fans, Emma Watson fans and adults looking for a date movie. All in all, Beauty and the Beast will in short form join the ranks as one of Disney's highest-grossing films.

2) KONG: SKULL ISLAND

The great ape held up pretty well in the face of another beast, dropping 52.7% and delivering a $28.85 million second-place performance. Kong: Skull Island also crossed the $100 million mark with that addition as it now sits comfortably at $110.12 million. It's holding up much better than its monster predecessors as Godzilla dipped 66%, the other Godzilla (Roland Emmerich's), dipped 59% and it even beat Peter Jackson's King Kong, which fell 57%. Adding $149 million foreign grosses, the $180 million picture stands at $259 globally. The film will at least make it to $150 million stateside - and will likely finish a bit better than that. We'll see if it can make a domestic run at its $180 million budget, but even if it falls short, world-wide it will be a smashing success.

3) LOGAN

Speaking of success, Logan, for the time being, still holds the crown for being the highest-grossing film of 2017. Dropping just 54%, Logan brought in $17.5 million to raise its total to $184 million, very close to doubling its $97 million budget. It is also the biggest worldwide film of the year with $524.1 million - but it will soon relinquish both of those titles to Beauty and the Beast. Even so, this very much R-rated superhero film is already the 4th highest-grossing X-Men film domestic and the third-best international. Logan is probably going to start dropping more theaters soon, but $200 million is still in the bag and we'll have to see just how high it goes from there.

4) GET OUT

Get Out continues to have the best staying power as it held on better than any film in the top 12 with a drop of just 36.1% in its fourth weekend out. Earning another $13.25 million, Get Out now stands at $133.11 million and now there is no problem predicting that this will top Split ($136.8 million) to become the highest-grossing film for Blumhouse. It finally opened in international markets as well, earning $2.9 million. When this is all said and done, Get Out could very well be the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time and Jordan Peele has to be commended for taking this chance on a socially-motivated horror film and having it play out so well.

5) THE SHACK

Dropping a single spot as well, faith-based drama The Shack also had a light drop of just 38.7%. The star-studded drama took in $6.13 million, which raised its total to $42.6 million. It is looking like The Shack will at least hit $50 million - where it will pass Soul Surfer ($43.85 million) to make it in to the top 10 Christian films of all time, though it may not quite have enough to catch 9th-place Son of God ($59.7 million). In any case, The Shack proves that there is still a good audience for faith-based films that don't pander to their crowd and provide a worthwhile narrative while still adhering to Christian principles.

Outside the top five: The only movie crazy enough to challenge Beauty and the Beast on opening weekend was the horror film The Belko Experiment. The Hunger Games meets The Office opened with $4.05 million in 7th place. That was right in line with studio estimates and is actually the second-best opening for a BH Tilt film. This one isn't likely to stay for long, but if it can hit $10 - $15 million, that should be good enough.

Of note in limited release was Danny Boyle's T2 Trainspotting sequel that earned $180,000 from five theaters for a decent $36,000 per-theater average. That's a good (not great) opening and we'll see if it does better as it expands.

Next week with Spring Break in full effect we get The Power Rangers, comedy CHiPs, sci-fi horror Life and inspirational basketball story Slamma Jamma. It's going to get crowded, so we'll see if Beauty and the Beast has any problem handling the competition.

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