"Beauty" will also beat the record set by "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" last year for all-time openings in March. The DC superhero film made $166 million in its opening weekend last year. Overseas, the controversy surrounding Josh Gad's gay spin on LeFou did nothing to hamper the film's international box office total, with Disney estimating a $180 million haul to give "Beauty" a $350 million worldwide opening.
Disney also set a new record for the biggest IMAX opening for a PG-rated film, grossing $21 million worldwide ($12.5 million domestic) from 1,026 IMAX screens. That passes the $20 million set by "The Jungle Book" last year.
Critical reception for "Beauty" hasn't been as warm as that of other remakes, as it has received a 71 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 95 percent for "Jungle Book." But the film has been an overwhelming hit with audiences, receiving an A on CinemaScore.
The film stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the titular couple, with Ewan McGregor, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson among the star-studded cast. It was produced for $160 million.
Coming in second on the weekend is Warner Bros./Legendary's "Kong: Skull Island," which made an estimated $28.8 million in its second weekend after grossing $12.3 million on Saturday. That pushes its domestic cume to $110 million, with a release in China still to come this Friday.
Fox's "Logan" is in third with an estimated $18 million in its third weekend, pushing its domestic cume over the $175 million mark as it approaches $500 million worldwide. Universal's "Get Out" is in fourth with $13.2 million, pushing its domestic total to $133 million, the highest ever for a black writer-director in his feature debut. Lionsgate's "The Shack" rounds out the top five with a $6.1 million weekend and a $42 million cume.
Orion Pictures/BH Tilt's "The Belko Experiment" finished outside the top five, though that was expected with its targeted release of 1,341 screens. The film made an estimated $4 million after making $1.57 million on Saturday, hitting the target set by BH Tilt and projected by trackers.