'Beauty and the Beast' Could Waltz to Massive $120M U.S. Debut

Pamela McClintock

'Beauty and the Beast' (Photo: Disney)

Expect a monster of an opening when Disney's Beauty and the Beast hits theaters on March 17.

Early tracking suggests the movie could reach $120 million in its North American debut, according to those with access to prerelease surveys. Disney insiders are being more cautious, saying $100 million-plus, considering tracking hasn't been entirely reliable as of late.

Anything above $100 million would mark one of the top showings for the month of March. The current record holder is last year's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with $166.1 million, followed by The Hunger Games with $152.5 million in 2012 and fellow Disney live-action film Alice in Wonderland with $116.1 million in 2010. After that, the next closest is Oz the Great and Powerful with $79 million in 2013.

Related: 'Beauty and the Beast': Emma Watson Sings Opening Number, "Belle"

Directed by Bill Condon, Beauty and the Beast is a live-action update of the classic 1991 animated musical of the same name. It follows a princess named Belle who is taken prisoner by a fearsome Beast in his enchanted castle while trying to avoid a narcissistic suitor, Gaston. The 1991 film was in turn an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's fairy tale.

Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson also star.

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