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

Disney’s latest remake has enchanted its way to a $63.7 million opening Friday, a new single-day record for a PG-rated film

“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. Friday receipts have already passed the $58 million made by “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 Warner Bros./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.