Beauty and the Beast will enchant even hardened Disney cynics

Actress Audra McDonald says starring in the new "Beauty and the Beast" film is a dream come true for her after missing out on a role in the Broadway stage musical back in 1993.

"Beauty and the Beast" blew past the previous record-holder for G- or PG-rated releases, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Beauty and the Beast", featuring the songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, also got a boost from good word-of-mouth and largely good reviews. With a budget of $4.5 million, the film is one of the year's most profitable. Josh Gad plays Gaston's sidekick, LeFou, who has a very brief "exclusively gay moment", as Condon described it, late in the film.

Theater owner Jim Kopp said the drive-in held a similar event in 2015, when Disney released a live-action remake of "Cinderella".

Disney has proven once more that audiences have a thirst for live-action remakes of its animated classics.

It seems as though the advancement in technology has really been paying off for Disney at the box office since Beauty and the Beast has also broken a box office record.

If you're expecting something wildly different from the animated movie, you will probably be disappointed.

Sarah Fath, who was on a date with Garrand, said many people are curious to see how a favorite animated movie from their childhood is brought to life in a live-action film.

She and co-star Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the Beast lead a stellar cast including Oscar winners Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson as well as Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Stanley Tucci.

"Kong: Skull Island" was in second place at $29.9 million, and "Logan" placed third at $17.5 million.

Add in another $180 million overseas, and that total - an incredible global sum of $350 million - is HUGE!

This will make Beauty And The Beast's opening weekend either the sixth or seventh all-time most successful, depending on whether or not it will surpass Iron Man 3's figure of $174.1 million. With the massive recent success of La La Land (more than US$417 million in worldwide sales), it proves that escapist song-and-dance fantasy still sells, even in countries that haven't traditionally responded to the format.

  • Salvatore Jensen