‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Track for Beastly $160 Million Opening

"Beauty and the Beast" is off to the races at the box office, making $63.7 million on Friday from 4,210 screens. With this big start, Disney is now projecting a $160 million weekend for their live-action remake.
This means that "Beauty and the Beast" now has the potential to pass "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" for the all-time biggest opening in March. Its opening on Friday has already passed the $58 million made "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to set a new record for the highest single-day total ever made by a PG-rated film.

"Beauty and the Beast" will also blow by the opening weekend totals scored by its predecessors in Disney's remake series. "Cinderella," which also got a March release in 2015, made $67 million in its opening. Last year's "The Jungle Book," which got a summer release, made $103 million en route to a $966.5 million worldwide total. That puts "Beauty and the Beast" well on pace to reach the $1 billion mark during its theatrical run.

Critical reception for "Beauty" hasn't been as warm as that of other remakes, as it has received a 71 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 95 percent for "Jungle Book." But Bill Condon's spin on the tale as old as time has been just as popular with audiences as the 1991 original, receiving an A from CinemaScore.

The film stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the titular couple, with Ewan McGregor, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson among the star-studded cast. It was produced for $160 million.

In second place is WB/Legendary's "Kong: Skull Island," which took a 64 percent drop in its second Friday to make $7.3 million after its $61 million opening weekend, bringing its domestic cume over the $100 million mark. The $185 million film will be released in China next week.

Fox's "Logan" came in third with $4.6 million in its third Friday, bringing its domestic cume to $184 million. Universal's "Get Out" is in fourth with $3.8 million, and Lionsgate's "The Shack" rounds out the top five with $1.6 million.

Finishing outside the top five is Orion Pictures/BH Tilt's horror film "The Belko Experiment," which made $1.5 million from its targeted release of 1,341 screens. BH Tilt now projects the film to make $3.6 million, just below the $4 million expected by both studio and independent projections.

The horror film, which is directed by Greg McLean and written/produced by James Gunn, depicts a sadistic experiment in which an office of 80 desk job workers is locked in their building and forced to kill each other. Peter Safran ("The Conjuring") produced with Gunn. It received mixed reviews from critics, scoring 49 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Emma Watson Waltzes Her Way to the Bank With ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Salary

Emma Watson might need to open up another vault at Gringotts because her bank account is getting some love after a big “Beauty and the Beast” payday.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources reveal Watson is expected to pull in a cool $15 million for the live-action remake of the Disney classic if the film performs as well as expected at the box office. She was reportedly offered $3 million upfront, but her profits will likely end up being considerably larger upon the film’s total gross.

And yet, Watson’s salary for “Beauty and the Beast” can’t hold a candle ―Lumière or otherwise ― to the $60 million she reportedly earned over eight “Harry Potter” films.

Given the recent string of live-action Disney remakes fronted by female stars, insiders are projecting Watson’s profits in relation to Angelina Jolie’s  earnings in 2014’s “Maleficent, which drew an impressive $759 million at the global box office. Jolie reportedly walked away with $20 million for the project, not including profit participation.

Considering “Beauty and the Beast,” which hit theaters nationwide on Friday, is set to land one of the top 10 openings of all time, it’s safe to say Watson will not be going hungry anytime soon. The film already pulled in a record $63.8 million on Friday and is projected to make up to $170 million over the weekend.

It’s also expected to break the record for the highest-grossing PG-rated film, likely unseating “Finding Dory,” as well as the biggest March opening of all time.

We don’t know how much Watson’s male “Beauty and the Beast” co-stars like Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad raked in, but her salary is an undeniable win for an actress who’s spoken out about Hollywood’s gender wage gap in the past.

“We are not supposed to talk about money because people will think you’re ‘difficult’ or a ‘diva.’” she told Esquire U.K. in 2016. “But there’s a willingness now to be like, ‘Fine, call me a diva, call me a feminazi, call me difficult, call me a First World Feminist, call me whatever you want.’ It’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing.”

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