Wonder Woman and IT made a huge impression at the box office this year, but both failed to overtake 2017’s biggest hit: Beauty and the Beast. Released back in March, Disney’s blockbuster reimagining of its animated classic is still the highest-grossing film of the year, and as we wade into the prestigious waters of awards season, the studio is making sure that voters don’t forget about it.
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
In a week devoid of any major releases, we still saw some major changes at the box office, with familiar faces like Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers, and Get Out (RIP) all falling from the Top 10 in favor of new releases or aggressively expanding art films. Of course, not everything was different; if you read these box office reports every weekend, I’ll bet you can name the top three movies (in order) with minimal effort. Here’s the weekend box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
In a parallel universe where Paramount Pictures doesn’t alienate its fanbase, we might be talking about Ghost in the Shell as the big winner of this weekend and the de facto start of a new wave of Japanese Hollywood adaptations. Instead, DreamWorks Animation and The Boss Baby blew up the box office, no doubt delighting a handful of DreamWorks executives who watched the Ghost in the Shell controversy unfold with glasses of champagne in hand. After all, nobody’s going to boycott a movie about a baby who wears a suit.
After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
Aah, remember just three weeks ago when we all thought Disney was about to introduce the studio’s first openly gay character? Director Bill Condon said his live-action Beauty and the Beast remake would feature a character having an “exclusively gay moment,” and described Josh Gad‘s LeFou as someone who both wants to be Gaston (Luke Evans), and kiss Gaston. Then critics saw the movie and found no openly gay character in sight. The investigation continues into what exactly an “exclusively gay moment” is – if anyone has figured it out, please let me know – but it’s certainly not whatever happened at the end of Beauty and the Beast.
It might be a tale as old as time, but audiences have proven there’s still a few petals left on that old flower. Despite being projected to open at somewhere between $214–245 million worldwide, Beauty and the Beast knocked the pants off those projections, eclipsing $350 million at the international box office and setting a March record for domestic releases along the way. Let’s take a look at how things shook out this past weekend with some of the expected grosses.