‘Beauty and the Beast’ Makes Record Debut

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast made a whopping $170 million debut in North American theaters this weekend, breaking multiple records set in 2016. It beat last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for the biggest March opening, and Finding Dory for the most successful PG film. The new film, a live-action remake of the animated classic, is this year’s top opening so far. Analysts expect it to rake in $1 billion worldwide by the end of its run. The film received both praise and criticism for its first openly gay character, LeFou, the sidekick of villain Gaston. Authorities in Malaysia demanded that the scene be edited out, and lawmakers in Russia requested an investigation into the film’s compliance with the country’s “gay propaganda” law. But that didn’t seem to put a dent in the film’s ticket sales, with $180 million in overseas sales in its debut weekend.