“Beauty and the Beast,” the live-action, remake of the Disney cartoon, raked in $170 million at the U.S. box office and $180 million overseas on its opening weekend.
This was the largest film opening in March and the seventh largest film opening of all time. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” previously held the title for biggest March opening with its premiere last year.
The film stirred up controversy when director Bill Condon admitted there would be an “exclusively gay moment” featuring Gaston’s sidekick LeFou (Josh Gaad). LeFou is Disney’s first gay character and the milestone was met with plenty of resistance.
In Malaysia, “Beauty and the Beast” was shelved by Disney after Malaysia’s Censorship Board agreed to release the film but with the “gay moment” edited out.
A Russian lawmaker also urged for the film to be banned for “blatant, shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships.” The film was not banned but given an adults-only 16+ rating.
In the U.S., an Alabama theater refused to screen the film because of LeFou. However, the film’s impact wasn’t lost on LGBT organization GLAAD.
— GLAAD (@glaad) March 19, 2017