Box Office: 'Beauty and the Beast' waltzing to record $170M U.S. bow

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Disney's live-action musical Beauty and the Beast is doing monstrous business at the North American box office, where it should waltz past $60 million on Friday alone for a possible opening of $170 million, according to huge returns.

The update of the classic 1991 animated musical, directed by Bill Condon, is destined to set a number of records, including the biggest start ever for a PG title. And if it passes up the $166 million domestic debut of last year's Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it will land the top March opening of all time, as well as one of the top 10 starts of all time, not accounting for inflation.

Friday's tally will include a mighty a $16.3 million in Thursday-night preview. That's the biggest preview tally of the year so far, the biggest ever for a Disney live-action title, the second-biggest for a PG film and the third biggest ever in March.

Read more: 'Beauty and the Beast': Film Review

See photos from the premiere:

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'Beauty and the Beast' premiere: Red carpet arrivals
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'Beauty and the Beast' premiere: Red carpet arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actress Emma Watson attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Emma Watson is seen signing autographs for fans as she arrives at the premiere of 'Beauty and the Beast' on March 02, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Singer Celine Dion arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Model Chrissy Teigen arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Model Chrissy Teigen and musician/husband John Legend arrive for the Premiere Of Disney's 'Beauty And The Beast' held at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Javier Bardem arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Matt Damon and Luciana Bozan Barroso attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Luke Evans arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Richard Kind attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Dan Stevens and Susie Hariet arrive for the Premiere Of Disney's 'Beauty And The Beast' held at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Chazz Palminteri attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Jean Smart (R) attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Mario Lopez, Courtney Laine Mazza and Gia Francesca Lopez attend Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Director Bill Condon attends the world premiere of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actress Aubrey Plaza arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Singer Toni Braxton arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Dancer Allison Holker (L) and Stephen Laurel 'tWitch' Boss (R) attend Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Dancer Allison Holker attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Paige O'Hara arrives a the Premiere Of Disney's 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actress Skai Jackson attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actress Carly Schroeder attends the world premiere of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
TV personality Louise Roe attends the world premiere of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Audra McDonald attends the world premiere of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw attends the world premiere of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Katie Aselton attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Amber Midthunder attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Keegan Allen attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Comedian Colleen Ballinger attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Aimee Carrero attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Marsai Martin attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Host Jackie Miranne attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Mckenna Grace attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Rosanna Pansino attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Cameron Boyce attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Julia Butters attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Musician Kevin Ray attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Liz Hernandez attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Booboo Stewart attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Peyton Elizabeth Lee attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Joshua Rush attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Asher Angel attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Sofia Wylie attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Producer Matt Sullivan attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Actor Niki Kloss attends Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' premiere at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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The $160 million tentpole, produced by Mandeville Films, should see a nice boost from a full run in Imax theaters, generally known as a haven for fanboys, and not families.

But with PG films booming, Imax is expanding its programming to include such are. Imax worked with Condon on making a special version of Beauty that allows more to be seen on the screen because of a different aspect ratio.

Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, and the cast also includes Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

The tale follows Belle, who attempts to rescue her father from the castle of a terrifying beast, and instead becomes his captor. But she soon starts to fall for the Beast and the enchanted staff of his castle, who were all put under a spell by a witch.

Read more: Why "PG Has Become the New Go-To" Rating for Studio Movies

Beauty is also opening around the world and should earn at least $100 million overseas. It took in a strong $11.5 million on its opening day, debuting as the No. 1 film in all but one market (Slovakia, where it was the No. 1 non-local film). It is also doing well in Russia, despite a restrictive rating slapped on the film after Condon recently revealed that Gad's character, Gaston's sidekick, is gay.

Censors in Malaysia have gone one step further and asked Disney to cut what it deems a "gay moment," but the studio says it won't make any changes.

The only other film opening this weekend is The Belko Experiment, which earned $305,000 in previews. The film is tracking to open in the $4 million range. Written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), The Belko Experiment is anOrion Pictures' low-budget horror thriller which Blumhouse's distribution arm, BT Tilt, is releasing in 1,250 to 1,300 locations.

The film, directed by Greg McLean, follows a group of 80 Americans who are locked in their high-rise office in Bogota, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed in order to survive.

Read more: 'Beauty and the Beast' Star Luke Evans on Gaston's New Backstory and Making People Laugh (Q&A)

March 17, 12:20 p.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.

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