Beauty and the Beast - A Record Breaking Success

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Audiences across the world were Disney’s guests this past weekend as they came in their millions to see the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast – truly making it a beast of a movie. Beauty and the Beast was definitely one of the most widely anticipated films of the year and the numbers definitely do prove that – no live action Disney fairy tale had this much hype to date. So how big was Beauty and the Beast? And what does it mean for the future of filmmaking? This special box office report will explain all…

Reaction After Opening Weekend
Beauty and the Beast was a record-breaking success at the box office – it even surpassed optimistic opening predictions – the experts thought $130-160 million in the US but the film did $174.7 million – a truly terrific debut. This number is on the same level as a summer blockbuster and it is only March! Beauty and the Beast now holds the record for the highest March opening in the US, beating Batman v Superman’s $166 million. Yes, Belle and her Beast were able to outdo two of the most famous superheroes of all time. The impressive statistics do not stop there – in the US, BatB had the highest opening ever for a PG rating film, beating Finding Dory’s $135 million. The film also now holds the record for the highest spring opening in the US beating films like Furious 7 and The Hunger Games. Topping all of that off, Beauty and the Beast also had 6th highest debut for any film of all time in the US – only The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, both of The Avengers films and Civil War were able to beat it. I think it’s pretty remarkable that a live action fantasy film was able to compete with Marvel and Star Wars which films that are big deals no matter what – that could be about to change thanks to BatB.

That is just how well the film did in the US but what about internationally? Well, the statistics are just as wonderful. Considering BatB has caused some controversy in many markets including Russia, it is still amazing to see that this controversy did not have a noticeable impact on the film’s performance. The film brought in $357 million worldwide within its first 3 days of release, the 13th highest of all time. The film is on track to become a member of the billion-dollar club and I couldn’t be happier – it’s such a good film. The film opened with $22.8 million in the UK – the highest 3 day opening for a PG film in history, and $44.8 million in China – already surpassing the totals of Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland in that territory. I think it is safe to say that BatB is already a mega success for Disney – the film has a budget of $160 million so needed an estimated $320 million to break even and in just 6 days, it has already made $462 million worldwide – it’s already in profit territory and it’s been out less than a week! Something Kong: Skull Island cannot say. With such strong opening numbers, industry professional, Anthony DiClemente, predicts the film ending up with $1.2-1.5 billion worldwide – that would be fantastic. I definitely think a billion is on the cards, it will be exciting to see how far it actually goes! BatB will probably be able to have strong holds at the box office due to positive word of mouth and repeat viewings – I’ve already seen it 5 times and it’s been out 6 days and everyone I’ve seen it with has loved it. Just another fun side note, I work at a cinema and the 18th March was our busiest day in history thanks to this film.

This box office success will do a lot for filmmaking. Firstly, I think it’s going to help the careers of everyone involved – any studio will want a name from this film as it’s the hottest thing in the industry right now. If I were a studio, I would be signing the director, Bill Condon on to another musical project right now – it’s the most logical thing to do. [23/3/17 UPDATE] - Bill Condon is in talks to direct 'Bride of Frankenstein' which could be a perfect fit for him - another dark and gothic romance! Now our leading lady, Emma Watson – she was a big draw for this film and her social media was very crucial to the success of the trailers. I think Emma Watson’s career will be defined by this role now (sorry Harry Potter!). This can be physically seen as in the US, Beauty and the Beast actually opened with higher than the final Harry Potter film – Watson’s biggest success is actually now Beauty and the Beast, not Harry Potter. This will be enforced even more if the film ends up closing with higher than Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($381m domestic/$1.34b worldwide) which it could possibly do. All eyes will be on Watson’s second picture of the year The Circle – if it is at least a solid hit, Watson may become one of the most bankable actors around. Josh Gad and Luke Evans are also likely to see good things come from this. I also think this film is going to lead to a string of musicals – you thought La La Land was the beginning (and possibly enough), well tell me that in 3 years’ time when studios will be releasing a new musical every month. Disney are also going to continue greenlighting live action fairy tales and studios will still attempt to copy them – The Legend of Tarzan and Snow White & The Huntsman are the closest any studio has come to having a win – I still think Disney will continue to rule but the other studios will still try. Disney will also make money from this film through merchandise, soundtracks and I wouldn’t be surprised if a singalong version is released in a couple of months’ time [it was!]. Beauty and the Beast is officially a phenomenon – a new movement for Disney.

Reaction after a month of release.
Beauty and the Beast definitely did not slow down at the box office - as of April 23rd, the film has grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide making it Disney's highest grossing live action fairytale (goodbye Alice in Wonderland!) and it is officially the crown jewel it was intended to be. The film will probably close with or just under $1.2 billion as it has opened in all major territories. Domestically in the US, the film is the 10th biggest of all time (without adjusting for inflation) and it is currently the 17th biggest of all time worldwide and could easily move up to number 13 by next week. In the US alone, after 6 weeks, the film is still in the top 3 of the box office - helped by strong word of mouth and a singalong release. 

Critics and Awards Potential
That’s enough on the box office, let’s talk about how the film has and could be successful in other areas. Next up, critically. So, the film has a respectable 71% on Rotten Tomatoes which is solid. But does the film have the potential to be an awards front runner during the 2018 season? Maybe. The film was screened to members of The Academy during the week and it ‘played through the roof’ – if the film had such a strong reaction, it could very well be a contender next season. I think the film is likely to get nominations in the following categories: Production Design, Costume Design, Original Song (Evermore) [possibly 2], Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. The film could also push for a Best Picture nomination as the fan favourite. That would be 9 nominations (optimistically) and I think that would be fantastic for the film. All because the Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t in the 90s doesn’t mean it can’t be an awards contender - Les Miserables, another awards frontrunner holds 69% and still pleased The Academy.

Finally, I think the film has been very successful in terms of its representation of minorities. Beauty and the Beast is a female led film and is the only female led film out of the top 10 US openers of all time – technically making it the highest female led opener of all time! I think this is going to show studios that there is a market out there for female led films so we will see more like this and hopefully female actors will get more opportunities. I think the performance of Wonder Woman in June will solidify this. Even though it was only a small part of the big, the inclusion of an openly LGBTQ+ character is a big step in the right direction. I think we’ll start to see more characters from this community in more mainstream films and that’s great. The film also has a relatively diverse cast and ultimately proves that unity and love will always win.

Sources:
Box Office Mojo
Deadline
Business Insider UK

The Hollywood Reporter


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