• Box Office

World Box Office, March 20 – 26, 2017

Shaking off several new challengers Beauty and the Beast cut down Power Rangers, laughed off Chips, and smothered Life, taking $88 million in its second week in US theatres. Disney’s live action reimagining of its 1991 animated classic reached $690 million worldwide after a $119.2 million international frame and looks set to become the first billion dollar film of 2017. New market France was worth $8.4 million, and Australia launched with $11.1 million. Disney scored a huge $4.4 million opening in Argentina, where Beast made the biggest opening of the year and the second biggest of all time for a live action film. It hit $73.4 million in China and $48.8 million in the UK. Its next biggest markets Mexico, Brazil and South Korea have now generated $23.8, $23.6 and $23.2 million. Among a host of new territories opening next week is Malaysia, where Disney won a battle with the country’s censors to keep the film’s controversial gay scene and will air the picture in its entirety.

While Beauty and the Beast clearly dominated the global box office this week its handful of domestic challengers all made the mistake of thinking they could prize Belle from her golden castle. Power Rangers came the closest to making a serious dent with a very respectable $40.5 million opening frame. Lionsgate’s adaptation of the massively popular 1990’s children’s action series comes from director Dean Israelite, who gained widespread praise for his 2015 teenage sci-fi drama Project Almanac. For Rangers sticks with the high school heroes theme of his previous film, putting a group of five American teenagers in the middle of a battle between ancient alien forces. Darce Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin play the Rangers and are guided by a projected AI consciousness named Gordon, played by Bryan Cranston. They have to quickly learn how to use their powers and face off against the evil sorceress Rita Repulsa, played by Elizabeth Banks, to save the galaxy from destruction. With $18.7 million of overseas plays added in, Rangers’ launch was worth $59.2 million. Japan, where the series was created, will be a big market, while on the other hand China could suffer from the Lego effect, where today’s 18-35 year olds didn’t grow up with the same exposure to the global franchise that most other developed countries had.

The problem with going up against a film that entertains almost every demographic is that there really isn’t a segment that’s ripe for counterprogramming. While Rangers had its own built in fan base to bring into theatres, Skydance and Columbia’s Life was crowded out of the ecosystem, taking just $12.6 million in its home debut. A hard-hitting trio of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds make up the backbone of the cast and were main selling points for this picture. Life is about a group of scientists who travel to the International Space Station to examine a bacteria specimen that was brought back from Mars. It very quickly escapes and wreaks havoc on the crew, parasitically invading their bodies and destroying the space station in an effort to reach the Earth’s surface and continue its assimilation of humanity. Overseas plays were worth $16.1 million and brought the picture’s opening cume to $28.7 million.

Chips meanwhile fared even worse, taking just $7.1 million from its domestic launch. Dax Shepard wrote, directed and starred in this adaptation of the classic 70s and 80s television series. He stars as washed up motocross racer Jon Baker, who joins the California Highway Patrol to impress his estranged wife and ends up in the middle of an investigation into a ring of armored car robbing crooked cops. Michael Pena plays his partner, undercover FBI agent named Frank Poncharello. The film does have plenty of laugh out loud moments, but it has been impacted by negative reviews and a B- Cinemascore .

Next week we have Ghost in the Shell, The Boss Baby and The Zookeeper’s Wife launching in the US. Maybe one of them will be able to steal a dance with Belle.

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