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Despite Anti-Gay Backlash, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Breaks Records with $170 Million Opening

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Despite some backlash regarding the inclusion of a gay character, Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast stomped box office records with an impressive $170 million opening at North American theaters. That total broke multiple records, including one set last year by Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for the biggest March opening.

Looks like a “tale as old as time” never goes out of style.

The remake also collected an additional $180 million overseas, placing the movie on a path toward $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales by the end of its run, analysts said.

Disney’s remaking of animated classics into live-action modern versions is just beginning. Next on their slate to get the live-action treatment are Dumbo, Mulan, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. These remakes engage adult audiences who fell in love with the originals as children. They also bring in a new generation of children who are falling in love with the timeless stories for the first time.

RELATEDHow Howard Ashman’s Battle with AIDS Inspired Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Beauty and the Beast is in deed fantastic. Director Bill Condon takes a few liberities with the new version adding deeper plot points and character developing moments in the remake. Emma Watson is fantastic as Belle, despite not really being a singer. Like Emma Stone in La La Land, actresses are being cast in these roles not because of their vocal pipes but because of their star power and acting abilities. And while she was underwhelming vocally, she still did magically protrayed as the heroine who learns to love a beast.

And yes, there is no doubt LeFou is gay. All film he gushes over Gaston, and in the final moments of the film, he dances with a man for a split second.

After Condon told Attitude there would be an “exclusively gay moment” in the film, conservatives stateside and internationally spoke out in protest against Disney’s step towards diversity. One Million Moms petitioned, an Alabama theater won’t show the film, Russia banned kids younger than 16 from seeing it and Malaysian censors requested the scene be removed. Disney refused.

Regardless of LeFou’s gayness being honestly portrayed, about 84 percent of American parents who saw Beauty and the Beast on its opening day said they would “definitely” recommend it for families.