‘Beauty and the Beast’ Made an Insane Amount of Money Last Weekend

Like, seriously, ALL THE MONEY.

In the least surprising box office windfall since the last Star Wars movie, Disney’s live-action (sorta! Y’know, lotsa computer animation in there!) remake of its own 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast put up stupid numbers over its opening weekend – a record-setting $170 million, the largest opening ever for a March release (topping last year’s Batman v Superman, thank gawd), the largest opening ever for a PG-rated film (topping last year’s Finding Dory), and the seventh-largest opening weekend for any movie, ever (just ahead of Beauty star Emma Watson’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – Part 2). It’s also the biggest opening ever for a female-centered film, topping 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It also grossed an additional $180 million overseas, for a staggering worldwide total of $350 million.

So what was the magic formula here? Familiarity and family-friendliness, apparently. Beauty is one of Disney’s most beloved properties, previously spawning theatrical re-releases and a Broadway stage adaptation, among other spinoffs; its 1991 release date also made it a fave among Millennials, and the casting of Ms. Watson fused the film with another beloved franchise, the Harry Potter movies. A handful of carefully handled controversies made the film seem a bit more progressive than it is. And then there’s the Disney brand, which means a family audience that will pretty much always show up.

It doesn’t really matter that the movie is so meh; Disney is now all-in in the remaking-its-classics business, so expect more titles to join the slate alongside the already-announced returns to Dumbo, Mulan, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. Just remember, this is mostly Tim Burton’s fault.