'Beauty and the Beast' nabs $357 million worldwide

Happy ending for Beauty And The Beast controversy

Happy ending for Beauty And The Beast controversy

Disney's animated "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) is a classic Disney movie that is loved by many - myself included - so skepticism was present and expectations were high when I sat down to watch the live-action remake.

Director Bill Condon's movie opened to an incredible $170 million and overseas the classic tale earned $180 million for a total of $350 million.

The film was off to a good start with it's star-studded cast alone: Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, to name a few.

Taking in $170 million domestically, Beauty and the Beast topped the previous March opening weekend record of $166 million set by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice just past year.

With Beauty and the Beast, Disney has found all the right elements to ensure that they have a movie worthy of the record-breaking amount it's making at the worldwide box office this weekend. It follows previous remakes such as Cinderella, Maleficent and last year's The Jungle Book.

Outside of a few scenes, the movie is an nearly exact remake of the classic 1991 Disney animated feature, which went on to win Oscars for best original score and best original song.

The live-action established a couple of records on the way after this unbelievable success. The addition of a minor story line featuring the company's first openly gay character ruffled some feathers: a cinema in the USA state of Alabama won't show the film, Russian Federation banned children younger than 16 from seeing it and Malaysian censors requested the scene be removed (Disney refused). The film, which has grossed more than United States dollars 180 million overseas, had been showing in the predominantly Muslim country of Kuwait since Thursday.

"'Beauty and the Beast" will look to continue its domestic performance over the coming weeks after receiving an "A' CinemaScore from opening day audiences, of which 72 percent were female", said Brad Brevet of BoxOfficeMojo. The film was also the "biggest domestic bow in nearly a year".

Beauty and the Beast is now on top of the box office, denying the mighty Kong: Skull Island its second frame in the number one spot.

In third place on North American screens was "Logan", in which Hugh Jackman's Wolverine character helps a young girl with claws of her own (Dafne Keen).

Beauty and the Beast is now in theaters.

Talking to Moviefone, Disney's Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution, Dave Hollis, cited nostalgia first among "Beauty's" strengths.