'Beauty and the Beast' nabs $357 million worldwide

Irish film fans took Beauty and the Beast's invite to Be Our Guest to heart over the bank holiday when Disney's live-action remake of its animated classic took over €2.2m to set a new record for an opening three-day weekend. That was the highest domestic debut for a March title in history.

Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid had said the movie was approved with a minor cut involving "a gay moment" because scenes promoting homosexuality are forbidden.

The country of Malaysia and a theater in Alabama may have boycotted Beauty and the Beast due to its "gay moment" - but they were in the vast minority. BATB is also the "biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film".

Of that total, $174.8 million came at theaters in North America.

Watson was paid more than $A3 million upfront for her role as Belle in the live-action remake.

During its opening weekend, Beauty and the Beast earned $44.8 million in China and $22.8 million in the U.K. In Korea, the film earned $11.9 million for the top Disney Live Action opening frame ever.

The studio initially made a decision to pull the film from theaters in the country rather than edit out what director Bill Condon has characterized as an "exclusively gay moment".

"The world is a pretty cynical place right now and Beauty And The Beast gave audiences an opportunity to go back to a time of innocence", Mr Greg Foster, chief executive of Imax's filmed entertainment, said on Sunday.

Emma Watson's predicted earnings for the movie as the "Beauty And The Beast" cast member is seemingly low, compared to her earnings in "Harry Potter". The country's largest cinema chain, Golden Screen Cinemas, tweeted today that the film will be released on March 30 with no cuts and rated PG-13.

However, the Bill Condon-directed movie has done far more than topple Kong: Skull Island and earn a monstrous $170 million at the USA box office alone.

Beauty and the Beast opened in other global territories, including the USA, last week, shattering records with $350 million in ticket sales worldwide.

  • Salvatore Jensen