'Beauty And The Beast' makes over $170 million in opening weekend

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The live action remake of the Disney classic, which stars Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor and Sir Ian Mckellen, is reported to have picked up between $170 million and $174 million (approx £140 million) in United States box office sales since opening on Friday.

The British actress was reportedly given an upfront pay cheque of $3 million (£2.4 million) but depending on how well the movie goes over with audiences, sources are suggesting that she could take home up five times that amount.

It's $170 million weekend exceeds the industry's expectations of a $165 million opening and also makes back the film's production budget, which was at $160 million. The company is mining classic animated tales for films with real actors and modern special effects after struggling to invent profitable original stories. "It's such a gratifying thing to see audiences respond to a film".

The record had been held by last year's opening of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice". A dazzling $22.8M in the United Kingdom gave BATB the highest grossing 3-day opening weekend ever for a PG title; and China opened to $44.8M for the biggest-ever Disney Live Action launch weekend. It follows previous remakes such as Cinderella, Maleficent and last year's The Jungle Book.

Internationally, "Beauty and Beast" placed No.1 nearly everywhere. The film scored a 71 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com, which compiles critics' ratings.

The 37-year-old actor says he had lost touch with how wonderful the journey of the antagonist in the Bill Condon film was, according to the Hollywood Reporter. BoxOfficePro.com was forecasting $175 million in weekend sales for the picture.

"Kong: Skull Island", last weekend's victor, takes #2 this weekend.

More box office estimates to come...