Beauty and the Beast waltzes to record-setting opening weekend

It was a fairy tale opening for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast remake, which set a host of records with its global box office take of $350 million US worldwide this weekend. 

Starring British actors Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the lead roles, the $160 million US production updates the beloved 1991 animated film and is the latest of Disney's live-action reboots.

The film waltzed to a take of $180 million US internationally — counting dozens of markets such as the U.K., China, South Korea, Germany, Italy and Russia, despite having being shackled with a 16+ rating due to the much-publicized "gay moment" alluded to by director Bill Condon. 

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Meanwhile the star-studded movie earned $170 million US at the North American box office.

The film is already a record-setter, taking the title of biggest opening for a female-driven film (60 per cent of the opening weekend audience), biggest opening in March (domestic) as well as biggest opening weekend for a PG-rated film (domestic and international).

It has vaulted into the blockbuster list of the top 10 movies with the biggest domestic/North American opening weekends (landing seventh and now, ahead of the final film of the Harry Potter franchise).

The new Beauty and the Beast has also garnered the biggest debut of Disney's recent wave of live-action remakes: revisions of its cartoon classics and characters that included global hits Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Maleficent and The Jungle Book. 

Remakes of Dumbo and Mulan are already in the works.