'Beauty and the Beast' smashes records with towering $170 million debut

Beauty and the Beast, the studio’s latest live action update of a cartoon classic, waltzed its way to a towering $170 million debut this weekend, setting a new record for a March opening and solidifying its status as the dominant player in the film business.

No other company can match the streak that Disney is currently enjoying, thanks to a series of multi-billion acquisitions that put the likes of Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilms in its Magic Kingdom.

Beauty and the Beast represents another part of Disney’s branded strategy. It’s the latest fairy tale adaptation to hit screens. Others in the lucrative group include Alice in Wonderland, which picked up $1 billion worldwide, Cinderella with its $543.5 million global haul, and last year’s The Jungle Book, which racked up a mighty $966.6 million after finishing its run.

While Beauty and the Beast dominated ticket sales, last weekend’s champ, Kong: Skull Island, fell 53% to $28.8 million. That pushes the monster movie’s domestic haul to $110.1 million. Warner Bros and Legendary Entertainment teamed up to produce the remake of King Kong.