'Beauty & the Beast' Breaks Box Office Records With $170 Million

It was a good weekend for "Beauty and the Beast".

The British actress was reportedly given an upfront pay cheque of $3 million (£2.4 million) but depending on how well the movie goes over with audiences, sources are suggesting that she could take home up five times that amount.

The $170 million makes it the seventh biggest weekend of all time, and the second biggest not to be released in summer, in both cases the top entry is Star Wars: The Force Awakens' $248 million opening. With detailed attention to the animated original and an enchanting backdrop, this fairy tale has been brought back to life. "It's such a gratifying thing to see audiences respond to a film".

Disney also set a new record for the biggest IMAX opening for a PG-rated film, grossing $21 million worldwide ($12.5 million domestic) from 1,026 IMAX screens. They delivered box-office records and historically high profits for the company a year ago.

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The film follows such Disney efforts as "Maleficent", "Cinderella" and "The Jungle Book", remakes which replaced their hand-drawn source material with real-world actors (and no shortage of modern CGI).

Overseas, the controversy surrounding Josh Gad's gay spin on LeFou did nothing to hamper the film's global box office total, with Disney estimating a $180 million haul to give "Beauty" a $350 million worldwide opening. The film scored a 71 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com, which compiles critics' ratings.

The film, directed by Bill Condon, cost around $160m (£129m). BoxOfficePro.com was forecasting $175 million in weekend sales for the picture.

Kong: Skull Island managed to only slip around 50% under Beauty and the Beast's weight, cranking past the $100 million mark on its second weekend out, ending at $110 million. BoxOfficePro was predicting $27.5 million. The movie, distributed by BH Tilt, tells the story of a group of people forced to participate in a game of kill or be killed.

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