The power of shrewd marketing, positive word of mouth (despite mixed reviews), and lucky release date (with no competition).
Beauty and the Beast dominates the country’s multiplexes with an estimated opening of upwards of $165 million.
Disney expects the live-action musical to finish in a range between $140 million to $155 million, before raising projections to $155 million to $165 million.
“Beauty and the Beast” had already grossed nearly $40 million at noon PDT with pre-sales and $16.3 million from Thursday night previews. The first-day total approached $60 million to $63.
Audiences surveyed by comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak gave “Beauty and the Beast” a stellar reception with 61% rating it as “excellent” and another 27% rating it as “very good.”
Disney spent $160 million making the movie, directed by Bill Condon. The cast includes Emma Watson as Belle and “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens as her cursed love interest.
Reviews have been decidedly mix, with a current 68% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Beauty and the Beast will be by far the biggest domestic launch of 2017, outpacing the $88 million opening for “Logan” two weeks ago.
Blumhouse’s BH Tilt label launched Orion Pictures’ “The Belko Experiment” with $305,000 in Thursday night previews. The horror thriller, which centers on Americans trapped in a high-rise building in Bogota, Colombia, expands to 1,341 North American sites Friday and is expected to take in $4 million this weekend.