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

'Beauty and the Beast' set to shatter multiple records at the box office
Emma Watson plays Belle and Dan Stevens plays the Beast in the new "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney)

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.

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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.

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