Box Office Report: 'Beauty and the Beast' Sets All-Time Records

Box Office Report: 'Beauty and the Beast' Sets All-Time Records

Mar 20, 2017

Here are your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Beauty and the Beast - $170.0 million ($110.1 million total)

2. Kong: Skull Island - $28.8 million ($61.0 million total)

3. Logan - $17.5 million ($184.0 million total)

4. Get Out - $13.2 million ($133.1 million total)

5. The Shack - $6.1 million ($42.6 million total)

6. The Lego Batman Movie - $4.7 million ($167.4 million total)

7. The Belko Experiment - $4.0 million ($4.0 million total)

8. Hidden Figures - $1.5 million ($165.5 million total)

9. John Wick: Chapter Two - $1.2 million ($89.7 million total)

10. Before I Fall - $1.0 million ($11.2 million total)


The Big Stories

The tale as old as time is not so much Beauty and the Beast itself, but the fact that for weeks and even months it was inevitable that the live-action Disney remake was going to make a killing at the box office. A $100 million opening weekend was an off-the-book gamble in Vegas. $300 million overall even moreso. The over/under on those numbers had to be set much higher and if they listened to the tracking numbers of around $130 million, there still should have been a lot of over bets. Wherever the experts set their final expectations, the bottom line is the true winner once again is the Mousehouse itself.


A Beast, To Say The Least

The numbers simply do not lie. At $170 million, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast is the biggest March opening of all time. Poor Batman v Superman held the title for just a single year and you can bet that Bill Condon’s film is going to have a better multiple than the paltry 1.99 of Zack Snyder’s reviled DC tale. But the rankings don’t stop there. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opened to $169.1 million. Beauty and the Beast has now opened better than any Harry Potter film. This is the 6th highest opening of all-time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Marvel’s The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Add in Iron Man 3 and Disney now owns six of the top seven opening weekends ever. And how is your week going?

$160 million budget – no probem! At least it won’t be in the next two weeks as the combined U.S. and international grosses push the film to become the 29th film in history to reach a billion dollars at the box office. Batman v Superman is the only film currently on the best opening top ten list to NOT break a billion, a list that also includes Harry Potter 8.2, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Disney would then own 15 of those. (They had four just last year and was only $34 million away from The Jungle Book becoming the fifth.) We have been here before with the record openings and the current average multiple for films opening over $160 million is 2.66. Take Batman v Superman out of the equation and it's 2.74. Beauty and the Beast has the less-unique distinction of being the best opening weekend for a “PG”-rated film ever, passing Finding Dory’s $135 million, which finished with a 3.60 multiple.

The thing that could be standing in the way of an astronomical U.S. number is that, with the exception of BvS and The Force Awakens phenomenon, all the other films were summer openings. If we looked just at the three other films to open over $100 million in March, the average multiple (once again thanks to BvS’ lowball) is 2.51. That seems like a safe number to set the first estimate for Beauty and the Beast. Unless The Boss Baby goes huge on Mar. 31, the Beauty should remain atop the box office chart for a four-week stretch. That hasn’t happened since Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it will be The Fate of the Furious that unseats it. Furious 7 grossed $353 million in the U.S. in 2015. Beauty and the Beast could be headed for around $426 million.


Tales of the Top Ten (and Beyond)

Kong: Skull Island dropped 57% from last week. Not a total surprise as its total rises to over $259 million worldwide. The first estimate for Kong in the U.S. started at $159 million. That is still looking pretty reasonable given that the film is $13 million ahead of Divergent’s $150 million pace and was about on par with that franchise’s second weekend. The biggest problem for Warner Bros. is that it would still need to find an additional $240+ million to satisfy its $185 million budget. We’ll be watching the international market very closely on this one.

Logan, on the other hand, is already well into profit for Fox, leaving the only question being whether it will become the highest-grossing X-Men film to date, domestically if not internationally. At the moment Logan’s third weekend is slightly above those for The Last Stand and Days of Future Past, but it still trails their overall pace. Given The Last Stand’s steeper drops, it is better to focus on Days to where Logan is off about $6 million. It is likely going to need to stay above $10 million next weekend to better its odds. But as it heads to over $524 million worldwide, Logan is the biggest profit margin of 2017 so far.

Yes, even more than Get Out, which remains THE success story of the year. At least in the U.S. It has yet to open internationally and given the international proclivity to not embrace black cinema , that is the one place where the money is unlikely to flow. (It’s made $2.9 million so far.) North America is another story, though. It dropped just 38% in its fourth weekend and has made over $133 million. It will be passing Split by next weekend as well as The Conjuring on the all-time chart. The Blair Witch Project will fall next. You see where this is going. Get Out is not only a phenomenon of the times but it is slated to become one of the most successful horror films of all-time.

Your other big moneymakers continue to remain in the Top Ten. WB’s The Lego Batman Movie is nearly at $168 million and Fox’s Hidden Figures is over $165 million. Both films are well into profit yet Lego Batman can’t help but feel like a small disappointment at this point. Budget-to-dollars, Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter Two is nearly as much of a success at this point. It’s going to miss out on its $100 million estimates. But anything over $90 million is a lock to get fans a Chapter Three.

Finally, in more limited release Blumhouse’s BH Tilt division has The Belko Experiment (with a budget of $5 million) in 1,341 theaters where it grossed $4 million. That’s a better start than The Green Inferno or Incarnate had in more theaters but it is nothing to write home about either.

Danny Boyle’s T2: Trainspotting made $180,000 in just five theaters. To put that in perspective last year Café Society ($359,289), Jackie ($278,715) and, on the same weekend, Midnight Special ($190,012) opened better in the same amount of theaters. Finally, Terrence Malick’s Song to Song opened in four theaters to the tune of $53,945. That is less than the $60,551 that Knight of Cups started with last year. Looks like people finally got the hint.

- Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]


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