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'Beauty and the Beast' roars with monstrous $170M debut

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/19/2017 By JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer
This image released by Disney shows Dan Stevens as The Beast, left, and Emma Watson as Belle in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Disney shows Dan Stevens as The Beast, left, and Emma Watson as Belle in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney's live-action "Beauty" was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a new high mark for family movies.

This image released by Disney, Josh Gad, left, and Luke Evans appear in a scene from, "Beauty and the Beast." (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Disney, Josh Gad, left, and Luke Evans appear in a scene from, "Beauty and the Beast." (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP)

According to studio estimates Sunday, "Beauty and the Beast" blew past the previous record-holder for G- or PG-rated releases. Last year, Disney's "Finding Dory" debuted with $135 million.

This image released by Disney shows Dan Stevens as The Beast in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Disney shows Dan Stevens as The Beast in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney via AP)

"Beauty and the Beast," made for about $160 million, is the latest effort by Disney to re-create one of its animated classics with live action and digital effects. It follows previous remakes such as "Cinderella," ''Maleficent" and last year's "The Jungle Book."

This "Beauty and the Beast," directed by Bill Condon, found widespread acclaim and some backlash for including what Condon called Disney's first openly gay character.

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