How big of a financial success is the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

Disney just remade one of its all time classic films, Beauty and the Beast. The movie appears to have become a huge financial success for the studio, making an incredible $174.8 million domestically and $357.1 million worldwide at the box office on its opening weekend.   Not surprisingly, this was the highest opening all time in March and the sixth highest domestic opening in history. This seems to show that the remake was a greater success than the original animated feature from 1991. However, in real terms is this really the case?

To determine just how big of a blockbuster Beauty and the Beast (2017) is I decided to calculate how much the original made domestically in its first weekend in real terms. To do this I found the CPI (in 1982-1984 dollars) in both 1991, which was 136.2, and in March of 2017, which, although not yet final, is approximately 243.603. Additionally, Beauty and the Beast (1991) made 9,624,149 domestically its opening weekend. Right away this seems like it is a big difference. In real terms, it is as well. In 2017 dollars the 1991 original version only made $17,213,447.64 in its domestic start. This is over $150 million less than the new live action version.

However, even though its opening weekend growth was so much greater, it seems as though Beauty and the Beast (2017) will have a closer total domestic gross to its predecessor. The 1991 version made $218,967,620 total, which is equal to $391,638,539.9 in 2017 dollars. The remake has already made $319,032,604 in two weeks but as all movies do, it is slowing down. For instance, it had about a 50% drop off between its first two weeks (which is actually considered to be good). To take a guess for how much of a domestic gross Beauty and the Beast (2017) will finish with, I looked at the movie with the 5th highest opening weekend of all time, Captain America: Civil War. This movie came out only last year so the CPI then is very close to what it is now, so for simply estimating there is no need to calculate its gross in 2017 terms because 2016 was very similar. Civil War made about $5 million more opening weekend, however it had a drop off of 59% during its first two weeks. This movie finished with a total domestic gross of $408,084,349, so it is safe to guess that Beauty and the Beast will finish right around $410 million, surpassing the original’s total gross in real terms as well. The success of the new live action version compared to the successful original shows just how big of a hit this remake is.



2 thoughts on “How big of a financial success is the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

  1. Victor Matheson

    Lots of changes in the movie industry as well. Back in 1991, foreign markets were more of an afterthought and big opening weekends weren’t the norm. I thought making Beast intellectual instead of illiterate was a good move that made his relationship with Belle more understandable.

    Of course, the great irony of Disney remains. They will make $400 million by telling fairy tale and won’t pay royalties to the original author because the copyright has expired so the story moves into the public domain. But they have fought for years to extend and strengthen copyrights so none of their stories will enter the public domain.

  2. Isabelle Kozik

    There are many possible reasons for the increase in the amount of people buying tickets to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie as compared to the 1991 version. One could be the change in people’s tastes, as people today might be more interested in seeing a fairytale than they were twenty-six years ago. Another reason is that the quality of movies has drastically increased, making movies more appealing to perhaps some people who did not go to see movies before quality was improved.


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