'Beauty and the Beast' set to shatter multiple records at the box office

King Kong had no chance against the Beast.

Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast,” the new live-action adaptation of the studio’s 1991 animated classic, is on its way to shattering box office records this week, raking in an estimated $63.8 million in over 4,200 theaters in the United States and Canada.

The PG-rated remake is projected to end the weekend on a $170-million-plus high note. This feat would make it the first $100-million opener of 2017 (beating out the $88-million opening of “Logan" as the year’s best so far), as well as the highest March opener ever, edging just past the $166 million grossed by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” last year.

It would also shatter the $135-million record held by “Finding Dory” for the largest opening of a PG-rated movie. The film’s projected numbers would give it the No. 7 slot in the list of largest domestic openings in history, just behind “Iron Man 3” ($174 million) and ahead of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” ($169 million).

“Beauty and the Beast,” about a young woman who falls for a beastly prince in an enchanted castle while trying to free her father from captivity, is proving a star-turning moment for Emma Watson, from the “Harry Potter” franchise. An A CinemaScore rating from audiences on opening night, as well as 71% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, are only helping the cause.

Warner Bros.’ Vietnam-centered monster movie “Kong: Skull Island” landed in the No. 2 slot at the box office, adding an additional $7.3 million to its $88.6-million first-week take. Fox's “Logan” earned third place with $4.7 million.

The weekend’s other two newcomers, Blumhouse BH Tilt’s “The Belko Experiment” and TriStar’s “T2” sequel to “Trainspotting,” found themselves in sixth and 23rd place, respectively, with $1.5 million and $64,000.

The former, a bloody horror/thriller about Americans fighting for their lives in a high-rise office building in Bogota, Colombia, is probably suffering from negative reviews that have earned it a 48% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The latter, which catches up with the protagonists of the 1996 Danny Boyle-directed cult hit about heroin addicts, is so far only in limited release. It’s Friday numbers were from six locations.

jessica.gelt@latimes.com

@jessicagelt

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