'Beauty & the Beast' Breaks Record at Box Office

Here's how it looked when Watson threw a snowball at the Beast.   Disney

Here's how it looked when Watson threw a snowball at the Beast. Disney

"'Beauty and the Beast' is the latest example of Disney's perfectly executed strategy of going to their animation vaults, dusting off a classic and reinventing it as a modern live-action movie", said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.

Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellan, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Emma Thompson, director Bill Condon's film is out now in Disney 3D across the UK.

"I feel like I was so lucky in getting this crown jewel (Beauty and the Beast), but I'll see her in Little Mermaid, absolutely", Condon says.

The film follows such Disney efforts as "Maleficent", "Cinderella" and "The Jungle Book", remakes which replaced their hand-drawn source material with real-world actors (and no shortage of modern CGI). Dusting off the oldies can be a tough, but filmmaking technology has become so advanced that the live-action versions can do the originals justice in the eyes of some moviegoers and critics. The addition of a minor story line featuring the company's first openly gay character ruffled some feathers: An Alabama theater won't show the film, Russian Federation banned kids younger than 16 from seeing it, and Malaysian censors requested the scene be removed.

William and Kate meet survivors of deadly Bataclan theatre attack in Paris
William and Kate watched young rugby enthusiasts training in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower ahead of Saturday's clash. The Duchess told them: "You're very fearless ".

Still, Disney know that they don't need a star name in order to have a hit; as one source put it: 'It it's the right vehicle for the right star, they can be great.

With Beauty dominating ticket sales, last weekend's champ, Kong: Skull Island, lagged far behind with $28.8 million for second place. That's more than the animated feature earned during its entire theatrical run in the USA, which ended at $145.9 million.

The monster ape movie's domestic haul now stands at a not inconsiderable $110.1 million and $259 million worldwide.

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