The new Bill Condon-directed Disney movie made as much as $170 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend in North America, breaking a number of records en route, including surpassing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for the biggest March opening.
Greg Foster, chief executive of IMAX’s filmed entertainment, told the New York Times newspaper: “The world is a pretty cynical place right now, and Beauty and the Beast gave audiences an opportunity to go back to a time of innocence.”
The live-action movie, which stars the likes of Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, collected an additional $180 million in ticket sales outside North America, meaning it could earn $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales by the end of its run, according to industry experts.
Emma, 26, fulfilled a long-held ambition in getting to play the part of Belle in Beauty and the Beast and the English actress recently admitted she can relate to her on-screen character because she “breaks the mould”.
Emma said: “She’s trying to move beyond the expectations that people have for her. I think everyone thinks that marrying Gaston would be the most wonderful happy ending possible, and she wants more for herself.
“She’s going against the grain and against the status quo and that’s not easy to do.”
The former Harry Potter star also explained how Belle breaks the mould of traditional Disney characters.
Emma said: “I think she was meant to be a departure from the Disney princesses that had come before her. She’s actually loosely based on Katherine Hepburn, she was written by a woman called Linda Woolverton. She was meant to break the mould so I felt very connected to her.
“Actually, Belle isn’t a princess. She’s the only Disney princess who actually isn’t a princess.”
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