’Beauty’ proves a beast in sales, smashes records

Dan Stevens as The Beast in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic “Beauty and the Beast.” (AP)
Updated 20 March 2017
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’Beauty’ proves a beast in sales, smashes records

LOS ANGELES: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” smashed box office records in its opening three-day weekend, taking in an unexpected $170 million, according to industry estimates.
The film, featuring “Harry Potter” veteran Emma Watson as a charming Belle to the frightening Beast played by Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” fame, set a record for a March opening in North America, Exhibitor Relations reported. The previous record was set last year by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” with $166 million.
“Beauty” recorded the seventh best opening overall in the United States and Canada.
Film site Fandango reported the movie had sold out at more than 1,000 showtimes in big cities and small, something more common for superhero blockbusters than for a family-oriented production.
“Disney is an awfully potent empire right now,” Exhibitor Relations’ Jeff Bock told Variety, adding that the studio “has all the other studios salivating.”
“Beauty” cost the hardly trifling sum of $300 million to make, but analysts say it should easily reach profitability. The specialized site BoxOfficeMojo estimated that Disney’s latest fairy tale adaptation may already have reached that point in worldwide sales.
“Beauty” swept aside the previous North American box-office leader, Warner Brothers’ “Kong: Skull Island;” that movie’s second-week take of $28.9 million was roughly half its opening weekend sales.
“Kong,” which has taken in $110 million since its release, tells the story of a group of explorers on a mysterious island that proves to be the frightening domain of the mighty ape.


Meghan Markle ties the knot — but not with Prince Harry

Updated 39 min 39 sec ago
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Meghan Markle ties the knot — but not with Prince Harry

LOS ANGELES: A little less than a month before her royal wedding to Britain’s Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has said “I do” — on television.
Markle fans who can’t wait until the actress walks down the aisle next month can tune into the seventh season finale of the legal drama “Suits” — which sees Markle’s character Rachel tie the knot with Mike, played by Patrick J. Adams.
“I wanted to marry you from the second I met you,” Mike says in a preview of the episode, to air Wednesday.
“You are the husband I’ve always wanted,” Rachel says, marking a happy ending for the two actors leaving the series.
“We know there’s another wedding on the horizon for Ms. Markle but just seeing her here in all of her bridal resplendence is a fairytale come true,” said the network USA, which airs the series, on its website.
The characters Mike and Rachel had already tried getting married in a previous season — but police arrested the former and thwarted the nuptial plans.
Shortly after announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, the future Duchess, 36, said she would leaving acting to focus on humanitarian work.
Her final appearance on “Suits” — in which she has starred since 2011 — will be a dress rehearsal of sorts for her big day on May 19, when she will marry Prince Harry in a chapel inside Windsor Castle before 600 invited guests.
Another 2,640 people will be welcomed onto the castle grounds.
American, mixed-race and “fiercely independent,” Markle is widely seen as a breath of fresh air for Britain’s royal family.
“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a California girl who lives by the ethos that most things can be cured with either yoga, the beach, or a few avocados,” she once wrote.
She will be the second American to join the British monarchy after socialite Wallis Simpson — who married King Edward VIII after he abdicated, and like Markle had once divorced prior to marrying royalty.