Over the weekend, The Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS - Free Report) highly-anticipated live-action remake of its beloved animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, made an absolute killing at the box office, bringing in $170 million and surpassing both analyst expectations and even Disney’s own estimates.
The film is the best weekend box office opener so far in 2017, and the seventh highest opening weekend ever, jumping past the previous record holder, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Beauty and the Beast is also the biggest opening ever for a PG-rated movie, passing last year’s Finding Dory.
Internationally, Beauty and the Beast made $180 million, with encouraging starts in the U.K., China, South Korea, and Mexico. The movie raked in $44.8 million in China and $22.8 million in the U.K. Made at a budget of roughly $160 million, Disney has already collected $350 million globally.
A Live-Action Future
Now that Beauty and the Beast has proven to be a bonafide success, Disney can feel comfortable enough forging ahead remaking other popular animated movies. Its previous live-action remakes have been lucrative for the media giant as well: Alice in Wonderland (2010), Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), and The Jungle Book (2016), which just won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Each of these films brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, with Alice in Wonderland making more than $1 billion worldwide.
A live-action Mulan is set for November 2018, and that’s just the tip of the animated iceberg. Here are the other Disney classics awaiting a live-action remake: The Little Mermaid, with new music from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken; The Lion King—which will star Donald Glover as Simba and James Earl Jones as Mufasa—Dumbo, with Tim Burton as director; The Sword in the Stone; Aladdin (Guy Ritchie is directing), as well as a prequel focused just on the Genie.
One of the Prince Charmings, from either Cinderella or Snow White, will be getting his own movie; Cruella, an origin story about Cruella de Vil; Winne the Pooh; Peter Pan; Tink, focused on Tinker Bell and starring Reese Witherspoon; Pinocchio; sequels to The Jungle Book and Maleficent; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Rose Red, which tells the story of Snow White’s sister; James and the Giant Peach; and Chernabog, the Devil-like villain from Fantasia.
The Magic Effect
Shares of Disney have gradually climbed over the years, and fiscal 2016 was great for the company. Four of its movie releases, and four of the biggest box office releases of 2016, each surpassed the $1 billion mark: Finding Dory, Zootopia, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Captain America: Civil War. Over the past one, three, and five years, DIS stock has gained 12.66%, 38.80%, and 157.27%, respectively.
If all goes according to plan, Disney will have created quite the movie-making machine. Nostalgia is a lucrative path to travel down, and the media giant knows just the right strings to pull to make you smile widely as you buy movie ticket after movie ticket to see your favorite animated characters come to life. Combined with Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and its Animation Studios, Disney is a force to be reckoned with.
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